“No foreign forces allowed or required to operate inside Pakistan”: Haqqani

December 21st, 2010 - 6:48 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Dec 21 (ANI): Pakistan will not allow any foreign troops to operate on its soil, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, has said in response to a media report that US military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas.

“Pakistani forces are capable of handling the militant threat within our borders, and no foreign forces are allowed or required to operate inside our sovereign territory,” the Dawn quoted Haqqani, as saying.

“US and Pakistani forces understand each others terms of engagement well”, he said, adding that they have a very high-level of cooperation as allies fighting a common enemy along the Afghan border.

“We work with our allies, especially the US, and appreciate their material support, but we will not accept foreign troops on our soil - a position that is well known,” Haqqani stated.

Reminding critics of Pakistan’s anti-terror efforts along the Afghan border, where the country has deployed over 100,000 troops, Haqqani said, “We have made enormous gains and tremendous sacrifices in fighting terrorists over the last two years and will continue our efforts for our own security and that of the whole world.”

The New York Times report had said that the proposal for an expanded campaign, reflecting the growing US frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to root out militants there, would escalate military activities inside Pakistan, where the movement of American forces has been largely prohibited because of fears of provoking a backlash.

The report further said that although the plan had not yet been approved, military and political leaders said that a renewed sense of urgency had taken hold, as the deadline approached for the Obama administration to begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan.

However, Haqqani pointed out that Pakistani and US officials remain constantly in touch and “do not need anonymous source news reports to tell us about each others’ thinking.”

In this context, he cited the recent visit of US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, who had “acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution” during his trip.

“Nothing discussed during his trip indicates the likelihood of ill-advised escalation or unilateral action by NATO troops beyond their mandate in Afghanistan,” said the top Pakistan diplomat in Washington.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States will “continue to work together to root out al Qaeda and other terrorists and bring stability and prosperity to our region,” Haqqani added. (ANI)

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