WASHINGTON-Hours after the launch of full-fledged military drive in the troubled Swat region, President Asif Ali Zardari declared that Pakistan was capable of rooting out the menace of violent extremism with sustained international support. 'I can assure the world on behalf of the people of Pakistan that we are up to the task. Just help us. Get us the capability and we can defeat this common enemy for a better tomorrow for our children and the coming generations, he told a gathering of top US officials, Congressional leaders and academics here. The occasion was a dinner hosted for the President by Pak Ambassador in Washington Hussain Haqqani and his wife, MNA Farahnaz Isphahani, at the Pakistani Embassy here. Earlier, President Zardari, speaking soon after Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered the military forces to eliminate the extremists, vowed to continue the offensive against Taliban militants in the Swat region until 'normalcy is restored. 'Its going to carry on until life will come back to normalcy, he told reporters following his meeting with members of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee alongwith his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai. In a dispatch published Friday, The New York Times said,the timing of Gilanis address was hardly an accident. He made it a day after President Asif Ali Zardari, met with President Obama in Washington. US officials have expressed alarm that the Taliban militants are threatening the integrity of the Pakistani State. Zardari has asked Obama for more military and economic aid, and Obama has indicated that he intends to oblige him. 'A collapse of the Pakistani state would be catastrophic for US and Western interests,the paper added. 'The Taliban already use sanctuaries in Pakistan to attack US forces in Afghanistan. And there are fears that Pakistans nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of Islamic militants. In his speech at the Pakistan Embassy, President Asif Ali Zardari applauded the trilateral summit hosted by President Barack Obama, saying the meetings would help plug the missing link of coordination in the fight against militancy in Pakistan-Afghanistan region. 'How differently were we facing the situation (in the past) when the three major partners were not even coordinating. So the first step has been taken. At least we are coordinating from now. It took us 10 years to get to this basic element that united we stand and divided we all fall. But better late than never, he added. Zardari told the gathering that terrorism has inflicted a huge suffering on the Pakistanis and exacted a high economic cost. Democracy is the cure to the problem of violent extremism besetting the region, he said, adding: 'It is a regional problem. It is not an Afghan-initiated problem. It is not Pakistan-specific problem. It does not evolve in Wana. Its a new war, the war of the 21st century, he added. Zardari said late PM Benazir Bhutto had warned President Bush senior in 1989 that 'we had all created a monster and it will come back to bite us. It bit us all economically. It bit me personally. It has bit Pakistan. It has bit a lot of people personally. A lot of people have felt this pain, he added. 'Can we defeat this menace? Yes. Let me assure all, together we can but individually I cannot. It is not an easy job to do, he said. Zardari said he has taken this message around the world and started the Friends of Democratic Pakistan forum to bring the strength that the country needs to meet the challenge. US media reports gave more details of the closed-door lunch for President Zardari and his Afghan counterpart President Karzai co-hosted by Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in which 24 Senators took part. The Senators, who would shortly be voting on massive aid packages for Afghanistan and Pakistan, grilled the two Presidents about their dedication to the fight against extremists and the capabilities of their democratic govts, according to The Washington Post. The focus has not been as intense as it ought to be, said Sen. Kerry. After listening to the two leaders, Kerry told reporters, 'Were very, very hopeful now that that is going to change. Others were less enthusiastic, the dispatch said. Compared with their usual meetings with heads of States, Sen. Bob Corker, Republican, told the Post, it was 'very, very frank. But 'my guess is they left the room with a lot less support than they came into the room with, Corker said of Karzai and Zardari. Both leaders, Corker said, gave 'vague answers and seemed less committed to the counterinsurgency fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda than the US. The guest list for the lunch included the large delegations of Cabinet Ministers and other officials accompanying the Presidents on their two-day summit here with President Obama and other US officials, including CIA Director Leon Panetta, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary of State Jacob J. Jack Lew. Also attending were Gen. David Petraeus, head of US Central Command, and Richard Holbrooke, the administrations special envoy to the two countries. Holbrooke, who has accompanied the leaders to meetings with Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, said that the summit had been a 'huge step forward and that 'people are working more closely together. Many of the Ministers from neighbouring Afghanistan and Pakistan 'had never met each other before. Working relationship is beginning. Thurdays lunch, Holbrooke said, 'helps increase the critical communication between President Zardari, President Karzai and members of Congress. Kerry and Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, have co-sponsored an administration-backed bill to triple civilian US aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over the next five years. The administration has also asked for significantly increased development assistance to Afghanistan and stepped-up military funding for both, in addition to deploying 21,000 more troops to Afghanistan this year. Kerry described the lunch as 'unprecedented and the questions as 'very pointed and very direct. According to several participants, there was significant back and forth, although Corker said he is 'going to want to know a lot more before voting to approve the requested aid. Karzai responded 'flippantly to a question about womens rights from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, saying he had picked a running mate who would please female voters, the dispatch said. This week, he announced that former Defence Minister and warlord Muhammad Fahim would be his Vice Presidential running mate for elections this summer. Asked about Pakistans porous border with Afghanistan, which allows Taliban fighters to easily pass through, Zardari pushed back, Corker said, noting that the US was unable to control its border with Mexico. In response to a question about the Pakistani intelligence services support of the Taliban, another attendee recalled, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, ISI chief, gave an impassioned defence of the service and its history and said its only current contact with extremists was through intelligence sources. At the news conference after the lunch, Karzai referred to Zardari as 'my dear brother and said of the summit that he was 'very, very happy with this engagement. Zardari, who has pressed the Obama administration for increased aid:I think the realisation in the world that we have to form more cooperation, to defeat this enemy that we all jointly face, is coming home. And we are taking advantage of this position. Monitoring Desk adds: President Asif Zardari has said that Pakistan can operate more effectively against extremists if the American drone technology is given to it. He said he could not explain or be held accountable to the US aid received during Musharraf-led regime, as he was in jail at that time. Talking to editorial board of a US newspaper, the President said that Pakistan could not pull back its troops from border with India. Zardari said Pakistan had deployed a large number of its Army soldiers at the western border.