Thursday, December 24, 2009

Militants vow to counter US surge in Afghanistan

A top Pakistani militant commander claims he sent thousands of fighters to neighboring Afghanistan to confront thousands of incoming US troops to the country.

"Since (President Barack) Obama is also sending additional forces to Afghanistan, we sent thousands of our men there to fight NATO and American forces," the AP quoted Waliur Rehman as saying.

Rehman is a deputy to Pakistani militant chief Hakimullah Mehsud, and the man in charge of the group's operations in South Waziristan.

The remarks come after President Obama and his NATO allies have ordered 40,000 more troops to be deployed to Afghanistan to end a nine-year conflict there.

Meanwhile, a US military spokesman in Afghanistan, called Rehman's comments "rhetoric" that were not to be believed.

"We have not noticed any significant movement of insurgents in the border area," Spokesman Col. Wayne Shanks said.

America and its NATO allies say Pakistan is reluctant to track down the Afghan Taliban, particularly the so-called Haqqani network, led by former US ally Jalaluddin Haqqani.

This is while Pakistan has accused the US and NATO forces of not doing enough to stop militants and weapons crossing from over the Afghan border into Pakistan.

Hundreds of militants fled into Pakistan to escape a US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Senior officials in Islamabad say that President Obama's new Afghan war strategy and a surge in troops can destabilize Pakistan.


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