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Updated: February 17, 2010 21:29 IST

Kerry meets Pakistani leaders, discusses India and Taliban

PTI
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The government of Pakistan and the Pakistani people are convinced that their country is threatened and that this fight against terrorists is their fight: Senator John Kerry
AP The government of Pakistan and the Pakistani people are convinced that their country is threatened and that this fight against terrorists is their fight: Senator John Kerry

India figured prominently in the talks the U.S. Senator John Kerry had with top Pakistani leadership during his recent visit to Islamabad, even as he refused to divulge details about the parley.

A close aide of the US President Barack Obama, Mr. Kerry is Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

When asked about the arrest of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the close aide of Mullah Omar in Karachi, he said, “We didn’t talk about it a great deal, because frankly we had a lot of issues about western Pakistan and India to talk about.”

Kerry, however, did not divulge details of his talks on India with the Pakistani leadership.

At the same time, he said the arrest of the top Taliban leadership is an evidence of a stronger cooperative effort that’s taking place between the US and Pakistan.

“But it’s an evidence of a greater level of cooperation. The government here and the people here are focused on the terrorist threat to this country, and I think they’re going to continue to be cooperative,” Kerry said.

The top American Senator acknowledged that top Taliban leadership has moved from Quetta to Karachi.

“There has been some movement of Taliban out of Quetta, out of the western part of Pakistan down into Karachi, and I think this is really a signal that, wherever people go, wherever they are, the government of Pakistan is determined to continue to ferret out those people who engage in violent extremist acts against the people of Pakistan,” he said.

However, he said it is too early to speculate that the arrest of Mullah Baradar would lead to the arrest of the other top Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders.

“I don’t even want to begin to speculate about that. I just think there’s no way to, you know, tell you what it might or might not bring.

What I do know is that the cooperation of the government of Pakistan is important. It’s a big transition that is taking place. For some period of time, there were doubts in Pakistan about whether this was a fight that involved them,” he said.

“I think the overwhelming determination has been made, because of the bombing of mosques, the killing of innocent women and children - the level of violence that has been brought by these insurgents has convinced the government of Pakistan and Pakistani people that their country is threatened and that this fight is their fight,” Kerry said.

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