Sunday, December 14, 2008

Britain, Pakistan sign 'anti-terror agreement'

The BBC reports:

"During a news conference in Islamabad with [Pakistani president Asif Ali] Zardari, [Gordon] Brown proposed the start of a new partnership with Pakistan to fight terrorism.The 'pact against terror' funding [of $8.9 million] will go towards anti-car bomb equipment and material to educate people out of becoming extremists, he said.

'The time has come for action and not words, and I want to help Pakistan and other countries root out terrorism. In return for this action we will continue to expand our counter-terrorist assistance programme with Pakistan, and it will be more than ever, the most comprehensive anti-terrorist programme Britain has signed with any country' [Brown said].

Speaking during a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Saturday, Mr Brown ... described Pakistan's border region with the country, where he met troops fighting the Taleban, as one end of a 'chain of terror' that could stretch to Britain if more was not done to tackle the threat of al-Qaeda. The prime minister's visit to Afghanistan came a day after four Royal Marines were killed in two separate bomb attacks. Mr Brown spoke of his 'disgust and horror' at the willingness of the Taleban to use a 13-year-old child to deliver a bomb in a wheelbarrow to a Marine patrol, killing three men and the boy."

Arguably what is needed is not a pact to help "root out terrorism" but a pact to divide those groups that are irrevocably committed to the use of terrorism from those groups that are not (see previous post). This is harder to fit into a soundbite, however.

p.s. (added 12/15): For the same news story in French (at Le Nouvel Observateur), see this link.

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