Pakistan, U.S. open counter-terrorism talks in Islamabad
Top Pakistani and U.S. officials Tuesday opened counterterrorism talks in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, aimed at boosting cooperation to fight terrorism, organized crimes and curb drug smuggling, officials said, Xinhua reported.
Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who is leading Pakistani side in the talks, in his opening statement called for checking arms and ammunition supply to Pakistan, saying that arms supply to militants has complicated the situation in the country.
Ambassador William R. Brownfield, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for International Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs, is leading the American delegation in the talks of the Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism Working Group of the U.S.- Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.
The group, which deals with strengthening Pakistan's law enforcement agencies in counter-terrorism, had earlier met in Washington last October where the two sides had agreed to take steps to enhance cooperation.
Malik said that foreign hand is involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan, adding that terrorists are being funded and equipped with arms by foreign elements. He did not directly blame any country.
Official sources said both sides would further review mechanisms to detect and deter financing of terrorist groups and discuss ways to increase cooperation and information-sharing on terror financiers. They said the talks will also focus on cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries.
Ambassador William R. Brownfield said that the United States is providing training to police and other law enforcement agencies to effectively tackle terrorism. He said his country will continue cooperation to boost the capability of Pakistani police to effectively deal with terrorists.
The talks are being held at a time when cooperation between the two sides has been affected following the covert and unilateral U. S. military operation to kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.
Pakistan condemned the unilateral raid and described it as against the country's sovereignty.