Home Indian Muslim NATO chief arrives in Pakistan

NATO chief arrives in Pakistan


Islamabad : NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer arrived in Pakistan Monday on a two-day visit largely aimed at tightening efforts in the fight against Taliban insurgents in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Before leaving Brussels, Scheffer said he also wanted to broaden bilateral ties in talks scheduled for Tuesday with President Pervez Musharraf and other officials.

This is the first visit by a head of the military alliance to Pakistan.

Scheffer was accompanied by NATO's top military commander, General John Craddock, who is expected to raise concerns about continued attacks on troops in Afghanistan by militants crossing from Pakistan's tribal areas.

While Pakistan is one of NATO's key allies in the war against terrorism, it has come under increasing pressure from partners to do more about insurgent activity on its territory.

Speaking earlier to a Pakistani newspaper in Brussels, Scheffer said that all players in Afghanistan had to step up action against the "spoilers."

"There is always room to do more for all of us – but I say explicitly that this true for all of us, not only Pakistan," he said, noting the Musharraf was fighting "as hard as we are".

According to him, more assistance should be given to Pakistan in mounting surveillance over the 2,500-km border with Afghanistan.

NATO has around 36,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, many of whom are engaged in daily battles with the resurgent Taliban movement, which was ousted from power in late 2001 by US-led coalition forces.

Scheffer's visit comes a week after Musharraf met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Ankara to try to overcome growing tensions over shortcomings in the fight against the Taliban.