WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is fully backing a Pakistani military crackdown on hotbeds of al Qaeda and Taliban activity amid mounting concern over terrorism, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser said on Sunday.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf’s 10-month-old peace deal with tribal elders in northwestern Pakistan that was aimed at marginalizing pro-Taliban militants, has failed, said Stephen Hadley, the adviser.
“It has not worked the way he wanted. It has not worked the way we wanted it,” he said on the ABC television program “This Week.”
Concern about a resurgent militant threat has grown over the last two months, Hadley added. “And we’re responding to it ... In the short run, we need to take it on operationally,” he said without elaborating.
Musharraf, a key ally in the U.S.-declared global war on terrorism, has been moving more troops into western areas of the country near the Afghan border, said Hadley, who appeared on four U.S. network interview programs.
“We are supporting that effort in order to get control of the situation,” he told ABC.
He added on CNN’s “Late Edition” program: “We have provided all appropriate support that we can consistent with Pakistani sovereignty,”
Hadley said Taliban havens in northwest Pakistan were a threat to both Musharraf’s government and the United States. “There is pooling of Taliban there. There is training, and there are operations,” he said on Fox News.
Musharraf “has taken actions against them but the action has at this point not been adequate, not effective,” he said. “We are urging him to do more and we are providing our full support to what he’s contemplating.”
Pro-Taliban militants in the North Waziristan region of Pakistan on the Afghan border on Sunday called off the peace deal signed in September after accusing Pakistani authorities of violating the pact.
Under it, Pakistan agreed to stop military operations against the militants in return for their pledge to not send fighters across the border into Afghanistan and would not launch attacks on Pakistan’s army.
A militant leadership council said it was dropping out because Pakistani forces had launched several attacks on them and the government had deployed more troops in the region.
Hadley said the Bush administration would lay out its perception of the terrorism threat in conjunction with the release to Congress this week of a National Intelligence Estimate on al Qaeda, which mounted the September 11 attacks on the United States.
The document, representing the consensus view of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, is expected to say that a resurgent al Qaeda is recruiting operatives to try to enter the United States and other Western countries for major attacks.
“And we will, at the same time, go to the American people and explain to them what we are doing to deal with this problem,” Hadley said.
Additional reporting by Randall Mikkelsen