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Homeland Security

Pakistani, US officials start counter-terrorism talks

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Islamabad, July 6, IRNA -- Top US and Pakistani officials on Tuesday started counterterrorism talks, aimed at boosting cooperation to fight terrorism, organized crimes and curb drug snuggling, officials said.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik, who is leading Pakistani side in the talks, in his opening statement called for checking arms and ammunition supply to Pakistan, saying that arms supply to militants has complicated situation in the country.

Ambassador William R. Brownfield, United States Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement and Narcotics Affairs, is leading the American delegation in the talks of the Law Enforcement and Counterterrorism Working Group of the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue.

The group, which deals with strengthening Pakistan's law enforcement agencies in counter-terrorism, had earlier met in Washington last October where the two sides had agreed to take steps to enhance cooperation.

Malik said that foreign hand is involved in terrorist activities in Pakistan, adding that terrorists are being funded and equipped with arms by foreign elements. He did not directly blame any country.

Official sources said both sides would further review mechanisms to detect and deter financing of terrorist groups and discuss ways to increase cooperation and information-sharing on terror financiers.

They said the talks will also focus on cooperation between the law enforcement agencies of the two countries.

Ambassador William R. Brownfield said the US is providing training to police and other law enforcement agencies to effectively deal with terrorism.

He said the US will continue cooperation to boost capability of Pakistani police force to effectively deal with terrorists.

The talks are being held at a time when cooperation between the two sides has been affected following the secret and unilateral US military operation to kill al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad on May 2.

Pakistan had condemned the US unilateral raid and described it as against the country's sovereignty.