WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - The United States has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to expand its fight against Taliban and al Qaeda militants, warning that the success of its new Afghanistan strategy depends on it, The New York Times reported on Monday.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected in the coming weeks to announce an overhauled strategy for Afghanistan that will include sending up to 40,000 more troops to fight in the eight-year-old war.
Obama sent a letter to President Asif Ali Zardari saying he expects the Pakistani leader to rally political and national security institutions in a united campaign against extremists, the Times reported, citing a U.S. official who was briefed on the letter’s contents.
In his letter to Zardari, Obama offered a range of new incentives to the Pakistanis for their cooperation, including enhanced intelligence sharing and military cooperation, the Times said.
The report said the letter was delivered by Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, who held meetings with Pakistani government and military leaders on Friday in Islamabad.
Jones also warned Pakistani officials that the Washington’s new Afghanistan strategy would work only if Pakistan broadens its fight beyond the militants attacking its cities to groups using havens in Pakistan for plotting attacks against U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the Times said, citing American officials briefed on the confidential talks.
Jones also praised the current Pakistani operation in South Waziristan but urged Pakistan to combat extremists who have fled into North Waziristan, the Times reported. (Reporting by JoAnne Allen; editing by Anthony Boadle)