Senators say Pakistan will dump Taliban

Dec. 19, 2010 at 1:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Two senior U.S. senators said Sunday that Pakistan would start backing away from the Taliban as the political and military situation in Afghanistan stabilizes.

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that the nagging issue of Taliban safe havens in Pakistan remained unsolved because the Pakistani government was trying to hedge its bets by staying on the good side of the militants and their al-Qaida allies.

"They are buying what they consider to be peace with some of these terrorist groups who are not attacking them but crossing the border and attacking the Afghans and us," said Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"We are going to continue to put pressure on the Pakistanis," Levin said. "They cannot have it both ways. They've had it both ways too long."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told "Face the Nation" that patience would be required along with a commitment to keep some U.S. forces in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future.

"We ought to look at two air bases being there in perpetuity with a footprint of both air power and special forces (troops) to let the Afghans and the Pakistanis know the Taliban will never come back," said Graham. "That's what's got Pakistan worried."

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