Pakistan — Pakistani Efforts Encouraging, Spokesman Says

WASHINGTON, May 6, 2010 — The Defense Depart­ment is encour­aged by Pakistan’s efforts to go after ter­ror­ists with­in their bor­ders and abroad, such as the sus­pect cur­rent­ly under inves­ti­ga­tion for last weekend’s failed ter­ror attack in New York City’s Times Square, Pen­ta­gon Press Sec­re­tary Geoff Mor­rell said today.

How­ev­er, Mor­rell point­ed to the attempt­ed bomb­ing as evi­dence of a need for “us all to con­tin­ue our aggres­sive oper­a­tions in going after ter­ror­ists wher­ev­er they reside.” “I think that inci­dent, although unsuc­cess­ful, cer­tain­ly reminds us of that, and hope­ful­ly, rein­vig­o­rates us to con­front these ter­ror­ist threats wher­ev­er they are.” he said. Although the Pen­ta­gon is not direct­ly involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion of Faisal Shahzad and his alleged ties to Tal­iban ele­ments in Pak­istan, depart­ment offi­cials are pleased with Pakistan’s response, Mor­rell told reporters at a Pen­ta­gon news con­fer­ence.

“We’ve received a pledge of coop­er­a­tion from the Pak­ista­nis regard­ing this issue,” Mor­rell said. “We’re encour­aged by this response.”

Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates is con­tent also with Pakistan’s aggres­sive actions against ter­ror­ists oper­at­ing with­in its bor­ders dur­ing the past two years, , said Mor­rell, adding that Pakistan’s gov­ern­ment and mil­i­tary are call­ing the shots for com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism in their coun­try.

“The pace and the tim­ing and the sched­ule to under­take those oper­a­tions are of the Pak­ista­nis’ choos­ing,” he explained.

Gates has said repeat­ed­ly that the Unit­ed States is Pakistan’s part­ner in the effort, Mor­rell said. “We are in the pas­sen­ger seat,” he explained. “[Pak­istan] is behind the wheel, [and] they are the ones who are going to deter­mine the direc­tion, the pace, the speed of their oper­a­tions.”

Pen­ta­gon offi­cials believe Pak­istan will con­tin­ue its coun­tert­er­ror­ism oper­a­tions to the sat­is­fac­tion of its inter­na­tion­al part­ners, Mor­rell said, and Pakistan’s gov­ern­ment is moti­vat­ed to con­front the issue because of the imme­di­ate threat ter­ror­ism presents the coun­try.

“Pak­istan has faced a ter­ror­ist threat from with­in its bor­der far more pro­found than those that we have faced here,” Mor­rell said. “They are incen­tivized, them­selves, to con­front this prob­lem, because it is a more imme­di­ate threat to them.” He reit­er­at­ed that Gates is com­fort­able with the degree of seri­ous­ness with which Pak­istan is approach­ing the ter­ror­ism prob­lem.

Root­ing out ter­ror­ism must be a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort between the two nations, Mor­rell said, stress­ing that plac­ing added pres­sure on Pak­istan will not bring desired results. “It has to be a coop­er­a­tive effort,” he said. “It can­not be one in which we are push­ing them. They have to wish to do it them­selves. They have to see the valid­i­ty and the val­ue in doing it them­selves. And clear­ly, over the past year or two, it has become crys­tal- clear to the gov­ern­ment of Pak­istan that they have to, them­selves, with our assis­tance, con­front these threats with­in their midst.”

Mor­rell not­ed that more than 2,000 Pak­istani sol­diers have died, along with count­less civil­ians, due to ter­ror­ist attacks in Pak­istan and the government’s efforts to respond to the threat.

“[Pak­istan] is clear­ly pay­ing a dear price in blood and trea­sure,” he said. “We respect that, and we will work with them at the pace and in the man­ner at which they are most com­fort­able.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)