Kashmir Key To Indo-Pak Ties: US

17 December 2009
Greater Kashmir

Islamabad: US Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen has said the international community should step in to resolve the Kashmir issue. “Kashmir is the key reason of tensions between Pakistan and India and the political leadership of the two countries and the international leadership should come forward to address the outstanding issue,” Mullen said in an interview at the US embassy in Islamabad Wednesday. He said the unresolved Kashmir issue was a source of regional instability and provided a “fertile ground for extremists and terrorists to continue to kill innocent people,” Daily Times quoted Mullen as saying. Mullen said the US was determined not to let the militants use Pakistan as staging ground to launch attacks in the future. “We are going to do everything we possibly can do to make sure that it does not happen again,” he said. Rejecting the impressions that the US or its security agencies were a threat to democracy in Pakistan, Mullen said Washington was supporting democracy and a broader relationship with Islamabad. He said Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was safe and he was “comfortable with the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons”. He said Pakistan had achieved a lot in the war on terror, but a “great deal” still needed to be done. Mullen said any decision to launch a military operation in North Waziristan and Orakzai agencies was a prerogative of the Pakistani leadership. Mullen visited the troubled South Waziristan in Pakistan’s restive NWFP along with the army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to get a first hand feel of ongoing operations to against Taliban and foreign militants.