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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Pakistan Strongly Reacts to Reported Obama Letter

By Sean Maroney
16 November 2009

Pakistan has strongly reacted to a reported letter from the U.S. president to his Pakistani counterpart that is said to urge Pakistan to do more in the fight against extremists. The response was made as four people were killed and 25 injured by a bomb in northwestern Pakistan, the seventh such attack in as many days.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says his country will decide on its own, according to its priorities and resources, on how to fight militants.

He says the international community recognizes Pakistan's sacrifices and unity in the face of Islamist extremists. He says his country does not need to do more or less because someone is saying so.

Qureshi was responding to a U.S. media report that quoted unnamed American officials as saying U.S. National Security Advisor Jim Jones delivered a letter from U.S. President Barack Obama to Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

Jones arrived Friday in Pakistan, the same day two suicide bombers struck in and around Peshawar. One blast targeted the regional office of Pakistan's spy agency, destroying much of the building.

According to a New York Times article, Mr. Obama encouraged his Pakistani counterpart to rally the nation's political and national security institutions in the fight against extremists.

Qureshi says Pakistan is in close consultations with senior U.S. officials on Afghan policy. President Obama is considering whether to send more troops to the country, and Qureshi says he hopes any troop increase would not lead to instability in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a suicide bombing in the town of Badh Ber outside Peshawar severely damaged several buildings, including the police station and a nearby mosque.

This area of northwestern Pakistan has suffered a large number of suspected militant attacks, killing hundreds of people since the army launched its offensive in mid-October against the Pakistani Taliban in South Waziristan.

Authorities say the militants are retaliating for the military offensive in Pakistan's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

On Sunday, militants attacked the homes of two pro-government elders near Peshawar, killing one of them. Separately in the Bajaur tribal region, local police say gunmen shot dead an anti-Taliban tribal elder at his home.

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