KABUL, Oct 5: US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage on Sunday praised Pakistan’s “tremendous effort” in launching a major operation against the Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the border region with Afghanistan.

“I do note with great satisfaction the statements of President Musharraf reported in the Pakistani press this very morning where he talked about the threat to Pakistan being extremists in their midst,” the top US diplomat told reporters during his brief visit to Kabul before heading to Islamabad.

“And I also note with great approval the tremendous effort in the last couple of days of the Pakistani forces against Taliban and Al Qaeda which resulted in the deaths of some and the capture of others, and I just hope that’s a trend that’s going to continue,” he said.

“We all recognize that the federally administered tribal areas are troubled and that some who wish to cause harm here in Afghanistan seem to come across the border there,” Mr Armitage said.

He said he would be discussing the operation with President Gen Pervez Musharraf on Monday.

“Clearly when I have the honour of speaking with President Musharraf tomorrow I’ll be speaking on the full range of our issues and I obviously want to talk with him about his recent activities against Al Qaeda and Taliban; after all these are our enemies too, they’re not just enemies of Afghanistan or enemies of President Musharraf,” he said.

Afghanistan also praised Pakistan’s efforts against militants.

“We will be obviously expressing our pleasure with Pakistan’s latest attempts to make sure the borders are secure and their attempts to destroy terrorist camps,” foreign ministry spokesman Omar Samad told AFP ahead of Mr Armitage’s meetings with President Hamid Karzai and Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah.

“We’ve seen signs recently that Pakistan is doing more to apprehend and disrupt the terrorist activities on its soil in the tribal areas and we hope it will continue.”

Mr Samad said the US-Afghan-Pakistan tripartite commission would be meeting in a few days to discuss security issues.—AFP

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