Clinton: Pakistan Aware of Extremists' Threat

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Pakistan is beginning to understand the severity of the threat posed by extremists -- who violently clashed with police officers today in a Taliban-infiltrated region near the nation's capital.

"I do believe there is an increasing awareness of not just the Pakistani government but the Pakistani people that this insurgency coming closer and closer to major cities does pose such a threat," Clinton told a House appropriations subcommittee.

The Obama administration is trying to convince the Pakistani government that Islamic extremists are a bigger threat and deserve more focus than India.

Clinton spoke to the committee as government troops in Pakistan met gunfire from militants as they descended a Taliban-infiltrated zone to protect buildings and bridges just 60 miles north of Islamabad. One police office was killed.

A NATO truck terminal was also attacked by militants, but it was unclear if Taliban were responsible for killing the officer.

The clash is likely to underscore worry that a government-backed peace deal with the Taliban can work.

Clinton said on Wednesday that the Pakistani government is "basically abdicating to the Taliban extremists." 

The region has been stormed by militants in recent days, adding to the argument that a peace deal isn't enough to halt the violence and growing relevance of the Taliban.

"I have absolutely no confidence in the ability of the existing Pakistan government to do one blessed thing," said Rep. David Obey, of Wisconsin, a House subcommittee member.

Clinton said Thursday the special envoy for Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, had "painful, specific" talks with Pakistanis about how to more effectively act against insurgents.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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