Brown calls Pak tribal belt 'crucible of terror'

Rezaul H Laskar

Islamabad, Apr 27
  British Prime Minister Gordon Brown today described Pakistan's restive tribal belt near the Afghan border as a "crucible of terror" amid a diplomatic row over the arrest of Pakistani students in a UK terror plot.

"Al Qaeda continue to find safe havens in (Pakistans) border areas and from there, they continue to plot deadly attacks not only on your country but on ours, Brown told a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani during his one-day visit to Islamabad.

As the two nation moved to ease a diplomatic row over the arrest of 11 Pakistani students in a UK terror plot that has sparked outrage in Islamabad, Brown today announced a 10-million pound package to boost the Islamic nations counter-terrorism capabilities.

"We will stand up to the extremists together. We will reverse this trend and we will take them on," Brown said, adding Britain will provide 10 million pounds to strengthen the counter-terrorism capabilities of Pakistani security agencies.

Browns comments in Islamabad were more guarded than his comments a few hours earlier in Kabul, where he described the tribal belt between Pakistan and Afghanistan as a "crucible of terror".

The visiting British premier also said his country would support Pakistan "more strongly on counter-terrorism activities". The two sides will engage in a strategic dialogue on all issues surrounding terrorism and could even set up task forces for this purpose, he said.