Terrorism threatens Pakistan's territorial integrity, Britian’s foreign secretary
Terrorism poses "a direct threat" to Pakistan's territorial integrity, Britain's David Miliband warned Wednesday as NATO foreign ministers met to discuss the alliance's anti-Taliban operations in neighbouring Afghanistan.
"There is a direct threat to the integrity of the Pakistani state that is posed by terrorism," Miliband said as he arrived at the alliance's headquarter in Brussels, reported dpa.
Miliband was commenting on last week's coordinated terrorist attacks in India's business capital of Mumbai, which have left nearly 200 people dead.
The attacks have heightened tension between India and Pakistan after police in Mumbai said 10 of the heavily armed gunmen involved had come from Pakistan's port city of Karachi. One captured terrorist said he came from Pakistan's Punjab province.
There is deep awareness within NATO that the success of its anti- insurgency efforts in Afghanistan is closely linked to the increasingly fluid situation in neighbouring Pakistan.
And at the start of their talks in Brussels, numerous NATO foreign ministers stressed the need to step up the alliance's cooperation with Islamabad and ensure that the Pakistani government is not distracted by its numerous security concerns as it attempts to secure the Khyber Pass, a vital supply route for US and NATO troops operating in Afghanistan.
Miliband said the best way of dealing with Pakistan's "threat from within" was to build up security, but also strengthen the country's economic and political apparatus.
"This is the exact counterpart to the efforts that need to be made in Afghanistan," he added.
On the second day of their meeting in Brussels, NATO foreign ministers were due to review the alliance's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission in Afghanistan, which currently relies on a force of about 51,000 - up from about 47,000 in the spring.
NATO commanders want ISAF to be further strengthened, but many allies are reluctant to commit even more troops.
"We should not be afraid of that discussion. (But) we must recognize that we are there to build up the Afghan national army, the Afghan police forces, as well as Afghanistan's political and economic institutions," Miliband said.