The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP’s) advances into the Buner district have placed it just a stone’s throw away from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. According to White House Spokesman Robert Gibbs, this has the administration “extremely concerned about the situation,” and President Obama is spending a lot of time focusing on it.
The Obama Administration has been harshly critical of the Swat Valley peace deal which has allowed the militant factions to establish a foothold in the Malakand District, with envoy Richard Holbrooke repeatedly expressing his concern over the deal. They were also briefly concerned with the South Waziristan ceasefire, but a US drone attack just hours after it was signed brought it to a quick end.
The most public attacks on the deal came from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shortly after Pakistani Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani chided the US about what he termed “an internal matter.” Clinton said the peace deal amounted to abdication by the Pakistani government to a “loosely-confederated group of terrorists and others who are seeking the overthrow of the Pakistani state.” Clinton also claimed that the TTP advance was a “mortal threat” to the entire planet.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates also commented on the matter today, saying it was encouraging that the Pakistani government had seemingly recognized the “threat” posed by the militants, but said it would also be important for them to take “appropriate action” against them. From the administration’s perspective, the only “appropriate” action is military force.
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