Hilary Clinton: 'Militants have operated too long from Pakistan'

· United States

Source / Courtesy: Yahoo News

ISLAMABAD (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday that extremists have been able to operate from Pakistani soil for too long, increasing pressure on Islamabad to crack down on Islamist militants destabilizing Afghanistan who are allegedly supported by the government.

Clinton is in Pakistan heading an unusually large delegation for two days of talks with civilian and military leaders in Pakistan. The delegation includes CIA director David Petraeus and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.

The U.S. has become increasingly impatient with Pakistan’s refusal to take military action against the Haqqani militant network, which is based in the country’s rugged tribal region. The group is considered the greatest threat to American troops in Afghanistan, and U.S. officials have accused Pakistan’s military spy agency, the ISI, of providing it with support — an allegation denied by Islamabad.

“We should be able to agree that for too long extremists have been able to operate here in Pakistan and from Pakistani soil,” said Clinton in a joint press conference with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar. “No one who targets innocent civilians, whether they be Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans or anyone else should be tolerated or protected.”

Clinton is also scheduled to meet with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari on Friday. She and the other members of her delegation held a lengthy four-hour discussion with top Pakistani military and intelligence officials on Thursday.

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