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Monday, May 10, 2010

US urges Pak to act 'urgently' against terrorists

New York: The United States has warned Pakistan it wants urgent action against Islamic militants in its tribal regions following last week's failed Times Square car bombing in New York, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

Citing US and Pakistani officials, The Times reported on its website that General Stanley McChrystal, the US military commander in Afghanistan, met Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Friday and urged that Pakistan hasten the start of a military offensive against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in North Waziristan.

Officials with knowledge of the visit who spoke on the condition of anonymity characterized Washington's ramped up pressure as a sharp turnaround from the Obama administration's relatively restrained approach of encouragement in recent months, The Times reported.

Faisal Shahzad, 30, a naturalized American citizen born in Pakistan, was arrested on Monday, two days after authorities say he parked a crude car bomb in New York's busy Times Square.

In Islamabad, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday Pakistani investigators were trying to verify information provided by the United States about Shahzad.

A US official was quoted by The Times as saying Kayani was told, 'You can't pretend any longer that this is not going on,'' the newspaper quoted one US official as saying. 'We are saying you have got to go into North Waziristan.''

Another official, referring to the highly sensitive prospect of US ground troops within Pakistan, was quoted as saying, 'We are saying, 'Sorry, if there is a successful attack, we will have to act'' inside Pakistan.

The report noted that US attempts to increase the presence of US Special Operations forces there, even in advisory or training roles, have faced firm resistance.

According to a Pakistani official, US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson met Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari after last week's failed bombing and used 'forceful' language to convey that Pakistan must move more assertively against militants threaded through society, The Times said.

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