Pakistani military refuses US call for war on Taliban

US secretary of defence hears unequivocal 'no' to his urgings of concerted warfare against Taliban militants.

ISLAMABAD // Robert Gates, the US secretary of defence, arrived here yesterday on a mission to assuage the concerns of Pakistan's politically autonomous military, only to hear it say an unequivocal "no" to his urgings of concerted warfare against Taliban militants. Mr Gates spent his first day in the Pakistani capital meeting the hierarchy of the country's powerful armed forces, which retain a veto over foreign and defence policy, despite the presence of an elected government.

A Pentagon spokesman said the talks were aimed at restoring military-to-military contacts, cut off in 1989 after Pakistan's nuclear programme became weapons capable. "It is useful to open a dialogue, particularly with people with whom we have not had a dialogue," said Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary. Aware that public opinion in Pakistan is markedly suspicious, if not outright hostile, of the US, Mr Gates had attempted to break the ice with a "hearts and minds" article in The News, an outspoken English language daily newspaper.

"The tremendous sacrifice of so many Pakistani troops - 2,000 in the last three years - speaks of both their courage and their commitment to protect their fellow citizens," he wrote. "It also speaks to the magnitude of the security challenges this country faces, and the need for our two countries to muster the resolve to eliminate lawless regions and bring this conflict to an end." Pakistan's military operations in the region have thus far focused on Pakistani militants waging an insurgency and terrorist campaign against the state, and against their foreign al Qa'eda allies, notably Uzbeks and Chechens.

However, the Afghan Taliban based on Pakistani territory have distanced themselves from the Pakistani militant insurgents, and ordered its associated Pakistani commanders to uphold peace agreements signed earlier with the military. Pakistan is thus reluctant to confront the Afghan Taliban, which it sees as a strategic ally in Afghanistan - particularly in the event that the US moves ahead with plans to begin withdrawing forces in 2011.

Addressing that difference of interest, in remarks to reporters travelling with him from India, Mr Gates said: "What I hope to talk about with my interlocutors is this notion and the reality that you can't ignore one part of this cancer and pretend that it won't have some impact closer to home." However, his urgings for Pakistan to abandon its soft policy towards the Afghan Taliban failed to evince the desired response.

Gen Athar Abbas, spokesman for the Pakistani armed forces, challenged Mr Gates's argument that all Taliban factions were part of a singular cancer. "The answer can't be in black and white," he told reporters. Similarly, the reassertion by Mr Gates of a standing US demand for Pakistan to launch a military operation in the North Waziristan tribal agency, in co-ordination with Nato commanders on the other side of the border, was also stonewalled.

North Waziristan is the base of operations for the Haqqani Network, a faction of the Afghan Taliban that has proven an especially challenging foe for Nato. In an interview with Pakistan's Express TV, Mr Gates said that, while he was not going to discuss operations when asked about the US drone programme, "these unmanned aerial vehicles have been extremely useful to us, both in Iraq and in Afghanistan".

Mr Gates also said he was expanding the programme by buying more of the aircraft and that the United States was considering ways to share intelligence with the Pakistani military, including possibly giving it US-made drones for intelligence and reconnaissance purposes. US officials told the Associated Press that Mr Gates was referring to a proposed deal for 12 unarmed Shadow aircraft. Gen Abbas said the Pakistani military would launch no new offensives for the next six months to a year, to enable its forces to consolidate gains elsewhere in the tribal region.

"We are not in a position to get overstretched," he said. @Email:thussain@thenational.aem

LIVING IN...

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This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

LIVING IN...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

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Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

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Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

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Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

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Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Padmaavat

Director: Sanjay Leela Bhansali

Starring: Ranveer Singh, Deepika Padukone, Shahid Kapoor, Jim Sarbh

3.5/5

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.

Did you know?

Brunch has been around, is some form or another, for more than a century. The word was first mentioned in print in an 1895 edition of Hunter’s Weekly, after making the rounds among university students in Britain. The article, entitled Brunch: A Plea, argued the case for a later, more sociable weekend meal. “By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well,” the piece read. “It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” More than 100 years later, author Guy Beringer’s words still ring true, especially in the UAE, where brunches are often used to mark special, sociable occasions.