Benazir-like tragedies can happen again, warns US

Benazir-like tragedies can happen again, warns US
Dawn, May 27, 2008

BAGRAM AIR BASE (Afghanistan), May 26: Pakistan should strike back at ‘terrorism’ or it will see more attacks like the one that killed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, US Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff said on Monday.

Extremists in Pakistan are a threat to that country as well as Afghanistan, he said when asked about Islamabad’s peace talks with pro-Taliban militants.

And it was important for the Pakistan government to see that “it ensures control and strikes back against terrorism,” he told reporters at the US military base at Bagram, 60km north of Kabul.

“Otherwise they’re going to see more of the kind of tragedies that they saw when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated or some of the bombings we’ve seen in the last several months in Pakistan and here in Afghanistan as well,” he said.

Chertoff was at the Bagram air base for a ceremony to award US citizenship to 44 troops from 12 countries serving in Washington’s war on terror launched with the invasion that toppled the Taliban from power in Kabul in 2001.

The secretary said there had been progress in the fight against extremists. However determination was still needed to “push back the enemy that is still trying to re-establish itself in some parts of Afghanistan, still threatening the young democracy we have here,” he said.

Afghanistan has seen a sharp rise in violence in the last year, even as the US and Nato have poured thousands of new troops into the country. The US now has some 33,000 troops in Afghanistan, the most ever.—Agencies

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