Pakistan fears Taliban could move south

June 25, 2009 at 9:35 PM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 25 (UPI) -- The Pakistani government is concerned the Taliban, driven out of the Swat Valley, might try to regroup in the south, the interior minister said.

In an interview published Thursday in the Financial Times, Rehman Malik said the government has analyzed information on terrorist incidents in recent months. He said the southern provinces of Punjab and Sindh are home to two groups of Islamic militants.

Malik said the military operation in Swat is close to an end and the government is targeting Waziristan. He said militants driven out of those areas might find a refuge in the south.

But he added defeating the Taliban requires cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Unless the two governments sit together and make a road map of how to deal with these terrorists, this will not work. I think to save Pakistan is to save Afghanistan and to save Afghanistan means to save Pakistan," Malik said.

China is lending Pakistan millions of dollars for electronic scanners to catch weapons coming across the border from Afghanistan, he added.

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