NATO presses Pakistan on 'terrorist' safe havens

Published: September 30, 2011
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (2L) gestures during a joint press conference at the Presidential palace in Kabul on May 24, 2011. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (2L) gestures during a joint press conference at the Presidential palace in Kabul on May 24, 2011. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

BRUSSELS: NATO’s chief piled pressure on Pakistan on Friday to step up the fight against “terrorists” enjoying safe havens in the border region with Afghanistan.

Amid growing US pressure for Pakistan to take action against al Qaeda-linked extremists, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for a “positive engagement” from Islamabad to ensure stability in Afghanistan.

“We encourage the Pakistani military and the Pakistani government to do its utmost to fight extremism and terrorism in the border region,” Rasmussen said at a defence forum hosted by the European Policy Centre think tank.

(Read: The Taliban & the Haqqanis)

“It is really a security problem for our troops in Afghanistan that terrorists have safe havens, and that’s a fact, in Pakistan,” he said. “We have to deal with that and it’s in our mutual interest to deal with that.”

“That’s a reason why we have conveyed that clear message to Pakistan authorities.”

The government and political leaders on Thursday closed ranks against increasing US pressure for action against the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network, refusing to be pressured into doing more in the war on terror.

In an unprecedented condemnation of Pakistan, the outgoing head of the US military, Admiral Mike Mullen, last week accused the country of “exporting” violent extremism to Afghanistan through proxies.

Mullen also charged that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) was actively supporting the Haqqani network blamed for an assault on the US embassy in Kabul this month.

There are 140,000 NATO-led foreign forces in Afghanistan, some 100,000 of them from the United States, fighting a Taliban-led insurgency.


The government has hinted at holding talks with militants including the Taliban. Do you agree or disagree with such a stance?

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Reader Comments (36)

  • Diogenes
    Sep 30, 2011 - 2:39PM

    If Pakistan has the right to harbour and support militants who want to overthrow the current government in Kabul, to ensure its strategic interests,

    Does India have the same right vis-a-vis Pakistan?
    Does the US have the same right vis-a-vis Pakistan?
    Does Iran have the same rights vis-a-vis Pakistan?
    Does Afghanistan have the same rights vis-a-vis Pakistan?


  • saeed
    Sep 30, 2011 - 2:41PM

    Nato and Americans are occupation forces in Afghanistan just like soviet how come afghan Taliban who are fighting against them in there own land are regarded as day they will leave this region as they did at the end of soviet collapse…but we Pakistanis have to live here..we can not afford to attack our tribal areas more as we already have faced its consequences in terms of devastating suicide bombings and terrorism..Americans them self wants to do negotiation or talks with Taliban..but when it comes to Pakistan they tell us to fight instead of talks..the only way forward as Imran Khan so rightly said is that enough is enough and we Pakistan should start talks and engage all the people in the tribal areas fighting against Pakistan or America…let them come on the table…facilitate America for exit strategy from Afghanistan and for god sake leave Pakistan and Afghanistan live in peace…Taliban don’t have power or money to hit America or any NATO was AL QAEDA who had this capability..the only biggest and worst mistake we did was not to alienate Taliban and AL QAEDA instead by starting army operations we have managed to unite them more..


  • san
    Sep 30, 2011 - 2:49PM

    We Pakistanies don’t need to buy made in China Irons to press our clothes as every single day we are pressed by made in EU or USA Iron.


  • Rana
    Sep 30, 2011 - 2:54PM

    Americans are very calculative in their policies. According to current situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan became irritatingly indispensable for them. Dumping Pakistan would be terrible option.


  • Arindom
    Sep 30, 2011 - 2:55PM

    Are the Haqqanis so precious?


  • Diggvijay Singh
    Sep 30, 2011 - 2:58PM

    “We encourage the Pakistani military and the Pakistani government to do its utmost to fight extremism and terrorism in the border region”

    I see this as part of a conspiratorial propaganda against Pakistan to weaken another Muslim nation. Pakistan is the only Islamic nuclear power and its concerns need to be respected. When will the world realize that victimizing Muslims is of no avail? This will only add a few more bricks to the wall dividing Muslim and non-Muslim world, making the wall insurmountable.
    Why don’t we instead look for peaceful resolution of the problems of Palestine and Kashmir? The Israeli occupation of Palestine has injured the collective psyche of Muslims all over the world. From the standpoint of a secular Indian humanist, I also want to say that the Kashmir dispute needs to be resolved at once in accordance with the hopes, aspirations and faith of the Pakistani people and the Muslims of Kashmir valley. Only by addressing these root causes shall we embark upon a path of shared prosperity and growth.


  • Lofted Shot
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:00PM

    Here you go, pressure rises more. We dont want facts, we want evidence.


  • Mohammad naeem
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:03PM

    They wont back down! U see They always have a long long planning. And thìs chourus of allegations will not die down.
    All we have to do is to stop counter attacks or harsh talk. Patiently study the US attitude while simultaneously create sympathetic atmosphere for ourslves all around by showing the world our flood and terrorism problems more vigoriously.
    In all “We need the moral high ground!”


  • Was A Pakistani
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:07PM

    bro you wont get one! why do you ask. The enemy lines are drawn Pakistan has chosen the obscurantist route.


  • Pundit
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:15PM

    It is obvious that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen is about to retire!


  • Rana
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:22PM

    Americans are very calculative in their policies. According to current situation in Afghanistan Pakistan became irritatingly indispensable for them. Dumping Pakistan would be terrible option.


  • Sep 30, 2011 - 3:22PM

    Nato and US had tested an ignominious defeat in Afghanistan, looking for face-saving and that was they reason indulged in blame-game. However, it is open secret what they Americans and their allies really wanted.


  • true Pakistani
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:30PM

    cry cry cry…. 1,40,000 men-forces are feared by a bunch of militants and still not able to get control over Kabul even after 10 years of continuous operation? what a joke really! if you can’t fight with few numbers of the terrorist in those area where you have so-called Rule and all the support then how can you imagine to come in our territory and bang them? you must be joking Recommend

  • Asad Khan
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:30PM

    NATO! If you have guts then deal with the terrorists who are in Afghanistan first..Recommend

  • Fghafoor
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:32PM

    Our Govt (Political/Arm Forces) Have to stop these fingers towards Pakistan.

    Common guys (NATO) you can’t control Afghanistan and BLAMING Pakistan for it?

    You couldn’t control the entire Afghanistan in a decade still more 70% person Afghanistan is with TALIBAN and blaming Pakistan for it?

    Afghanistan has more then 70% of its territory SAFE HEAVENS for these Attackers (so far called terrorists) and blaming 1% of the Pakistani territory ?????????

    I’m sure Pakistanis must have learned that they have to not help USA in future in any so far called WAR or anything else. USA is doing lots of TRADE business with India (900% more than Pakistan) how come they can be our friends??????????

    Look friends don’t talk in this tone right???????????


  • UK Pakistani
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:33PM

    And what about terrorist activities eminating from the NATO/US side of the border Mr General Secretary? We, Pakistanis, urge you to do likewise and apply the same rules… No hypocracy or duplicity – thank you…


  • dar
    Sep 30, 2011 - 3:56PM

    Four Afghan provinces adjacent to pak-afgh border are under complete taliban controll .Nato-US forces are not interested to dislodge them but they are crying the hell out about alleged pakistan – taliban sanctueries.This does not make sense.


  • Cautious
    Sep 30, 2011 - 4:05PM

    You don’t have the sovereign right to harbor terrorist.- and no one outside of Pakistan has any sympathy for Pakistan on this issue. If your incapable of handling the problem then ask for help or maybe just step aside let others handle the issue.


  • Manna
    Sep 30, 2011 - 4:33PM

    Forget haqqanis What the Occupying forces are doing in Afghanistan? 10 years gone by. That’s terrorism on their soil. And You are talking about haqqanis? I can tell the easiest solution and that’s the NATO must vacate Afghanistan and end the illegal occupation of an entire nation. All its problems will be resolved. No neighbor can not guarantee NATO’s safety in there if they keep occupying that nation. Don’t be there to complain that they kill them. After all Afghans has nothing to do with 9/11. Recommend

  • Beginning to understand
    Sep 30, 2011 - 4:37PM

    Yesterday’s outcome of the APC should be enough to open their eyes. Their establishment and the politician have yet again hoodwinked the people. Basically with this, USA and NATO have a free hand.


    Sep 30, 2011 - 4:59PM

    All these Rasmussens,Mollens, patreuss,Penatess etc etc didnt be able to exert pressure on pak militry and its ISI. bcoz they hv known all this stuff is coming up..Recommend

  • Beginning to understand
    Sep 30, 2011 - 5:02PM

    @Diggvijay Singh: ‘I see this as part of a conspiratorial propaganda against Pakistan’.

    I fully agree with you. Yesterday’s APC just let the people of Pakistan down.


  • Peace On Earth
    Sep 30, 2011 - 6:03PM

    It’s a shame to see so many armchair strategists vehemently comment on how innocent the Pakistani government is. Are you folks serious?!?!

    Pakistan HAS and currently DOES have close ties to extremists elements and one of the biggest leaders was found close to the capital. After this, what do you expect the world to say?

    If you send people to rob my house and I see the robbers constantly mentioning your name and hanging out with you, what am I to assume? You’re in bed with the robbers, right?Recommend

  • Thomas (Australian)
    Sep 30, 2011 - 6:23PM

    It is my suggestion that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen should read “Pakistan: A Personal History” by Imran Khan – in particular chapter 9 ‘The Tribal Areas: Civil War My Solution’.

    It is obvious many senior military leaders lack a sound understanding of the cultural issues and how to solve the problems that have been created by others in the region. What he is recommending would most likely result in an increase in terrorism in both Afghanistan, Pakistan, India controlled areas in the region … and possibly even in NATO countries.

    I’d suggest Palestine as a UN member may be a better catalyst for peace in the region rather than trying to exert undue pressure on Pakistan … as well as steps to encourage actual economic growth in the region … but if you kill innocent people it often has consequences and the majority of the residents in the border regions are NOT terrorists but thousands have been killed by drone strikes.

    I was recently in Pakistan on a business trip and had NIL negative experiences with Pakistani people that I met travelling around Karachi, Pakistan and found Pakistanis very friendly and the situation different to that portrayed by the media.


  • Lal Bahadur
    Sep 30, 2011 - 6:29PM

    NATO is an occupying force and at war with Afghanistan, The NATO forces have failed to manage or contain the Taliban and is now desperate to withdraw from the Lost war, if Rassmussen is so concerned about the safety of his troops then he should withdraw them right away. They should have done their home work before jumping into the war
    Don’t blame Pakistan for your failure. They may have won battles but sure are losing the War.


  • Wellwisher
    Sep 30, 2011 - 6:33PM

    *It seems US does not have spine to take on Pakistan It is unnecessarily imagining nightmare scenarios. US wake up to the reality. Only who think of future will be remembered for ever *


  • Pragmatist
    Sep 30, 2011 - 7:12PM

    I would love to know what Pakistan has gained by supporting terrorists in all these years – just one little thing that the terrorists have done that has made Pakistan better than what it might have been. It just boggles the mind of the outsider looking in that the ruling class can be so naive and short-sighted. Until the late eighties, Pakistan was ahead of India in all parameters and the downward spiral started the day they decided to harbor terrorists to wrest Kashmir. Look what that has done for the nation.


  • Ikramuddin Akbar
    Sep 30, 2011 - 8:06PM

    Instead of killing innocent people in bomb blast and having rancor in revenge of NATO presence in AFGHANISTAN, and near PAKISTAN border , a mass” QUIT AFGHANISTAN”. movement should be launched, both in Pakistan and Afghanistan , the most democratic way of showing a nations disliking towards an uninvited guest. When people take the street nothing can stop them, and this is called the “PEOPLE POWER” no super power can stand it.It must start now!


  • ashar aneel
    Sep 30, 2011 - 8:30PM

    what is 140,000 forces of NATO forces are doing in Afganistan , why dont they stop ppl from crossing from afganistan to pakistan , they have to stop them instaed of that they are putting un necesary pressure on pakistan.


  • Freeman
    Sep 30, 2011 - 9:27PM

    @Cautious: Grow up and check situation in Afghanistan itself where world top 42 countries with strong 140.000 ISAF forces with best and latest fighting machines plus 300,000 Afghan army could not do anything. Pakistan actually helped them for the last 10 years and gave scrifies. No other country have guts to give this much sacrifies for the whole world.

    They should first help themselves then think other things.


  • omg!
    Sep 30, 2011 - 9:32PM

    Pakistan Army Zindabad!


  • syed baqar ahsan
    Sep 30, 2011 - 9:46PM

    Now NATO has also started making noise,Americas are very good in making any kind of accusations in broad day light . The American had/has a long list of friends in this region who are to be declared terrorist soon.Recommend

    Sep 30, 2011 - 10:09PM

    If things have gone out of control which Pakistan has refused to admit so far, then it must seek help from outside rather than continue with this self-destructive policy.

    Pakistan would be in more trouble soon since Indian army has located 42 terrorists training camps inside the country and out of these many have been reactivated recently. New inflirtation routes have also been identified and a consolidated report has been submitted to the defence ministry. India would be taking up this grave issue with Pakistan soon. Pakistan is fighting war on terror both at home and outside but is reluctant to leave its decades old policy which may lead to international reprecussions. Recommend

  • asma
    Sep 30, 2011 - 10:18PM

    Sob sob:(( ways to cover one’s failures? US why are you crying? Everyone knows what you are up to, it is written on the wall. One day your people will come to beat you because a day will come when they will realize what a fool their governments has made of their innocence and exploited the love they hold for their country. Be wary! You can bomb, kill, do anything but what goes forward comes back to hit hard. we are used to hard times. We fast everyday. What will your people do when hard times come? Not too far to go! 2035 is the scientific prediction by which time US will be in the dump.


  • G. Din
    Sep 30, 2011 - 11:52PM

    @Thomas (Australian):
    It is normally observed that those who suffer from Stockholm Syndrome are generally completely unaware of it.


  • Ammar Khalid
    Oct 1, 2011 - 2:18AM

    Okay lets make sense of the news. Here Rasmussen (Nato’s secretary General) is asking Pakistan to act on “terrorist” safe havens i.e. to kill Haqqani fighters. Now some poeple are in the illusion that this is a war between sanity and insanity and not war on Islam. Let me remind these people that this very Rasmussen criticized the newspaper Politiken Tøger Seidenfaden which reprinted the Prophet Mohammed caricatures in 2008 and then the newspaper apologized later on. But guess what???!?!!!!! Rasmussen criticized the newspaper on apologizing and not for the reprinting the caricatures!!!!!!!!!! Now he is calling us to fight on his behalf??


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