Musharraf rebuffs US proposal of increased military role in Pakistan

January 27th, 2008 - 8:42 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Pervez Musharraf
New York, Jan 27: The US proposals to let its army engage in combat operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas bordering Afghanistan has been rebuffed by President Pervez Musharraf, but both sides are discussing ways to enhance US intelligence gathering missions.

America’s top intelligence officials — National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and CIA Director Gen Michael V Hayden — secretly travelled to Pakistan on January 9 to meet Musharraf, the New York Times reported.

But Musharraf rebuffed their proposals to expand any American combat presence, either through covert CIA missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces, the paper said.

“Instead, Pakistan and US States are discussing a series of other joint efforts like increasing the number of missions by armed predator surveillance aircraft over the tribal areas, and identifying ways that the America can speed information about people suspected of being militants to Pakistani security forces,” the paper quoted unnamed officials, as saying.

Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani also attended the secret meeting on January 9.

The visit was arranged as the US Government after it felt that the Taliban and al Qaeda were intensifying their efforts to destabilise the Pakistan Government, the report said.

“The purpose of the mission was to convince Musharraf that time is ticking away,” and that the increased attacks on Pakistan would ultimately undermine his effort to stay in office, a senior official said.

Other officials said recent US intelligence analysis indicated that al Qaeda was now operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas with the freedom that it had in Afghanistan before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the report said.

Last week, US State Department’s counter-terrorism chief, Lt Gen Dell Dailey revealed Washington’s concerns regarding Pakistan’s tribal areas, saying “we don’t have enough information about what’s going on there. Not on al Qaeda. Not on foreign fighters. Not on the Taliban.” (ANI)

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Posted in South Asia |