U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the foreign policies of President Barack Obama administration on the Capitol Hill in Washington, April 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)
WASHINGTON, April 22 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of
State Hillary Clinton expressed concerns about the development of Taliban
militants in Pakistan on Wednesday, calling for effective efforts to curb the
insurgents advance in the war-torn country.
Speaking to the Foreign Affairs Committee in the
House of Representatives, Clinton said that the U.S. government believes
Pakistani government shares U.S. goals in defeating terrorism.
However, she criticized Pakistani authorities for
having made a peace deal that allows militants in Pakistan's northwest to impose
Islamic law in exchange for a cease-fire with Taliban insurgents.
"I think the Pakistani government is basically
abdicating to the Taliban and the extremists," she said, urging Pakistan's
government and Pakistanis at home and abroad to "speak out forcefully against a
policy that is ceding more and more territory to the insurgents."
It was reported that Taliban militants in Pakistan's
Swat valley are stretching out to the region just 110 kilometers from the
capital Islamabad, in a bid to broaden their control.
Swat has been one of Pakistan's main tourist
destinations since2007, when the security forces began to fight against local
Taliban in the region.
Last week, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari signed the regulation introducing Sharia, or Islamic law, into northwestern Pakistan. The local government has issued a formal notification on enforcing Sharia in Malakand and Kohistan divisions including the restive Swat valley. Washington has expressed concerns about the enforcement of Islamic law in the region.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (R Front) arrives to testify before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the foreign policies of President Barack Obama administration, as anti-war protestors hold a demonstration, on the Capitol Hill in Washington, April 22, 2009. (Xinhua/Zhang Yan)