WASHINGTON, May 8 (UPI) -- Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari says his country's military offensive against Taliban militants will "go on till the situation returns to normal."
Speaking Thursday in Washington at a new conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind., Zardari said a significant military assault in the Swat Valley would keep going until the militants are defeated, Pakistan's English-language newspaper Dawn reported.
The assault was announced Thursday by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
"The operation will go on till the situation returns to normal," Zardari said. He said a new realization had dawned in Islamabad that the entire world views the Taliban insurgency in the country's northwest and in neighboring Afghanistan as a major threat.
"There's a realization in the world that it's a regional problem, a worldwide problem," Zardari said. "It is not an Afghan or a Tora Bora problem. It is not a problem secluded in the mountains of Pakhtoonkhwa. This realization brings strength to the fight."
Karzai said he and Zardari are working to improve coordination between the countries, telling Dawn, "We have taken a significant step forward for reducing the trust deficit between the two countries."