US Def Secy rejects reports of troops build up along Pak-Afghan border

July 17th, 2008 - 1:39 pm ICT by ANI  


Washington, July 17 (ANI): The US Defence Secretary has rejected press reports suggesting that American troops were building up on the Pak-Afghan border to launch an attack into Pakistan, but warned that if attacked (from across Pakistan border) the US troops will retaliate and return fire.

Dismissing the suggestion that the current tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan could lead to a war between America s two key allies, Defence Secretary Robert Gates said: That is an exaggeration.

Gates said this at the Pentagon briefing after he was asked to comment on recent media reports that the US was gathering troops on the Afghan border to launch an attack into Pakistan s tribal areas.

The notion that US troops are massing on the border to enter Pakistan is untrue, the Dawn quoted Gates as saying at the news conference.

Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was present on the occasion, also dismissed these reports as incorrect, saying: I have seen the reports and disagree with them, disagree with what they say.

Gates clarified that the US had not taken any decision to send troops into Pakistans tribal areas in search of Al Qaeda or Taliban leaders, but if the troops were attacked from across the border, they will return the fire as they have done in the past, using long-range artillery.

Admiral Mullen said that during a recent visit to Pakistan he told Pakistani leaders they need to do more to stop cross-border infiltrations into Afghanistan . (ANI)

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