Monday, September 7, 2009

US content over Pakistan's nuclear security: Gates

The United States is satisfied with the security of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said in an interview aired Monday, calling the arrangements in place "sufficient and adequate." "I'm quite comfortable that the security arrangements for the Pakistani nuclear capabilities are sufficient and adequate," Gates said in an interview with an Arab satellite news channel, according to a transcript.

He said that assessment was "based both on our own understanding of the security arrangements that the Pakistanis have for their weapons and their capabilities, their laboratories and so on. But also the insurances we have been given by the Pakistanis." Gates also praised the performance of both Pakistan's military and civilian government over the past 16 months, saying it had exceeded Washington's expectations.

He said a political consensus had formed on the need to take on extremists in the Swat valley and the tribal areas, and that the government had been effective in its handling of refugees in the aftermath of the military operations against the Pakistani Taliban. "We are very impressed by that and we are prepared to be helpful, to help the Pakistanis in any way we can," he said.

Asked about reports that the Pakistani intelligence supported Taliban groups in their war against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gates acknowledged that those relationships go back to the campaign against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. However now "I believe we are in the same trench, working for the same goal," he said.


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