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Danger looms large over Islamabad due to Swat deal : Holbrooke

Lahore, Apr.20 (ANI): The US Special Envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard Holbrooke has said that there is an increased risk of Islamabad being affected by the Swat deal inked between the Taliban and the government of Pakistan.

“You cannot deal with these people by giving away territory. They are now getting closer and closer to Islamabad and Punjab,” Holbrooke said.

In an interview with CNN, Holbrooke expressed his concerns about the Taliban insurgents entering Islamabad following establishing their command over the Swat Valley, as the capital city in only hundred kilometers away from the valley.

“Swat is not in the tribal areas. It is only 100 miles from Islamabad.It is like East Hampton and Manhattan, people from Islamabad went to Swat for holidays. It is really an extraordinary situation,” Holbrooke said.

Terming the current situation in Pakistan as ‘very perilous’ he said that the extremists operating in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Swat are planning to expand their area and have already entered Punjab.

“There can be more terrorist attacks in cities like Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi,” The Dawn quoted Holbrooke, as warning.

He highlighted that the US, India and Pakistan were facing a common enemy.

Holbrooke noted that the threat can not be thwarted by military confrontation only, and stressed on the need of dismantling the root cause of the issue.

“First of all, we need to do deal with economic and social roots. More economic aid was needed to do away with the breeding grounds for the kind of rebellions witnessed in Swat more than once,” he added.

Holbrooke said there was an urgent need of strengthening Pakistan’s Army to counter the increasing extremism and to win the propaganda battle in the region. (ANI)

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