Obama asks Pakistan to snap ties with militant groups: report

Washington, Nov 30 (DPA) The United States has offered Pakistan an expansion of military and economic cooperation but has insisted that Islamabad ends dalliance with militant groups for its policy ends in India and Afghanistan, the Washington Post reported Monday on its website.

Citing government officials speaking on condition of anonymity, the daily paper reported that James Jones, national security advisor to President Barack Obama, delivered the offer earlier in November to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

The offer of stepped up relations would require an end to Pakistan’s use of insurgent groups toward its policy ends. Pakistan has been suspected of past support for militants in India and


The report comes on the eve of Obama’s speech Tuesday evening at the US Military Academy at West Point, New York, where he is expected to announce a long-awaited decision on additional troops for the war in Afghanistan.

The reported overture toward Pakistan is motivated in part by the country’s inextricable links with Afghanistan.

“We can’t succeed without Pakistan,” an official was quoted as saying, citing the risks to nuclear-armed Pakistan from instability in Afghanistan.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, expected to confirm on Monday that London will send another 500 troops to Afghanistan, on Sunday said in interviews that Pakistan must do more to “take out” leaders of terrorist network al-Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri and other top al-Qaeda figures are believed to have been in hiding in Pakistan since the US-led ouster in 2001 of their Taliban allies in Afghanistan. Brown is due for talks Thursday in London with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Pakistan in recent months has stepped up its fight against militants within its own borders, though Western doubts persist about Islamabad’s ability and will to combat such groups.