U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice is calling on Pakistan to intensify efforts to combat Taliban militants who
use its border areas to launch attacks against Afghanistan. Speaking to
reporters in the western Australian city of Perth Friday, Rice said the
militants cannot be allowed to organize and plan their attacks from the
northwest frontier area, despite its difficult terrain. From Sydney, Phil
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has
suggested that a surge in violence by the Taliban in Afghanistan had its roots
in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Pakistan.
authorities in Islamabad were urged to do more to bring the region under its
Rice insists that despite the hostile terrain, the Pakistanis
must do more.
"There's an uptick in terrorism, not just against forces
but against the Afghan people and in that regard everybody needs to do more but
Pakistan does need to do more. That border, we understand that it's difficult,
we understand that the northwest frontier area is difficult but militants cannot
be allowed to organise there and to plan there and to engage across the border
and so more needs to be done."
This blunt message to Islamabad comes just
a few days before Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is to meet US
President George Bush in Washington.
The Pakistani government has said it
will not allow its soil to be used by extremists or for them to launch attacks
into neighbouring Afghanistan. It has also resisted suggestions that American
or other foreign troops should be deployed in the region to combat the
On an 18-hour stopover in Western Australia, Condoleezza Rice
received strong support from her Australian counterpart.
Stephen Smith says the international community should redouble its efforts in
"It is an issue that has regional and international
community consequences," Smith said. "There is no doubt that the current
international hotbed of terrorism is in that area, is in the Pakistan border
area in Afghanistan. So, we have raised the border issue with the Pakistan
government as we have with our ally the United States and other friends in
Afghanistan in particular the British."
US Secretary of State Rice also
said in Perth that there was still time for the Israelis and Palestinians to
reach a peace deal by the end of this year ahead of trilateral talks in
Washington next week between both sides and American mediators.