Pakistani government officials have expressed concern about President Barack Obama's new Afghan strategy, which calls for Pakistan to step up its co-operation against the Taliban in exchange for a pledge of a long-term partnership.
The Pakistani foreign affairs ministry issued a cautious response on Wednesday that stressed the "need for clarity" in the new US policy.
"Pakistan looks forward to engaging closely with [the] US in understanding the full importance of the new strategy and to ensure that there would be no adverse fallout on Pakistan," the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
"Pakistan and the US need to closely co-ordinate their efforts to achieve shared objectives. There is certainly the need for clarity and co-ordination on all aspects of the implementation of the strategy."
In an address to unveil a new strategy for the eight-year conflict in Afghanistan, Obama said on Tuesday a cancer had taken root in Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan and promised US help to end it.
Obama's announcement has raised fears that Pakistan could be further destabilised by a reinvigorated military campaign in next-door Afghanistan, complicating Islamabad's own battle against the Taliban.
According to the Wall Street Journal
, the first reinforcements will land in southern Afghanistan by Christmas, kicking off an 18-month surge that the administration plans to begin reversing in July 2011 when it transfers responsibility to the Afghan government.
A growing tide of bombings and suicide attacks, meanwhile, have killed hundreds of people in Pakistan in the past several months since the Pakistani army launched a major offensive against Taliban strongholds in South Waziristan.
Earlier on Wednesday, Islamabad was shaken by a suicide bombing at the entrance to National Naval Headquarters in a highly guarded area.
A teenage boy blew himself up as a guard approached him. Officials said the blast killed the bomber and two guards.
Pakistan fears a US troop surge in Afghanistan would force fighters to flee to its border areas, particularly in the southwestern Baluchistan province where the government is already struggling to end a low-level insurgency by tribal fighters.
Source: Al Jazeera and agencies