Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani assures Bush on terrorism
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday assured US President George W Bush that his country was committed to fighting terrorism and halting crossborder attacks into Afghanistan, dpa reported.
"We are committed to fight against those extremists and terrorists who are destroying and making the world not safe," Gilani said at the White House. "And this is our own war. This is a war which is against Pakistan, and we'll fight for our own cause."
The Bush administration has been frustrated by the slow response of the Pakistani government to the ability of Taliban and al-Qaeda militants to find safe haven in Pakistan tribal regions to carry out attacks on US forces in Afghanistan.
The issues have been a rising source of tension between the two countries, but Bush expressed confidence that Pakistan remains a strong US ally in the war on terrorism.
"We talked about the need for us to make sure that the, you know, Afghan border is secure, as best as possible. Pakistan's made a very strong commitment to that," Bush said.
The Bush administration has been sceptical of Pakistani efforts to negotiate peace in the tribal regions, pointing out that past talks have failed to achieve security while making it easier for militants to operate.
The meeting came as suspected US airstrike Monday in Pakistan killed six people, including three militants and al-Qaeda's leading explosives expert and his wife, Pakistani authorities confirmed.
The White House did not comment on the airstrike, but a US official in Washington said that the death of Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar would be welcome news.
"If the reports do turn out to be true that he is longer with us, it would definitely be a victory against al-Qaeda, having taken out a key explosives operative" who was training the next generation of al- Qaeda recruits, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Gilani's government came to power in February after defeating President Pervez Musharraf's party in parliamentary elections. Musharraf has been a close and perhaps the most important US ally in the war on terrorism.