US-Pakistan tension grows over anti-terror campaign

September 11th, 2008 - 5:48 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Sept 11 (Xinhua) Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani Thursday lent full support to the army chief criticizing recent cross-border raids by US-led coalition forces, which have caused deaths of many civilians. “The statement of the army chief reflects the government’s policy,” said Gilani at a project inauguration ceremony in Islamabad.

The prime minister said that Pakistan is a responsible country and is playing its role to fight terrorism.

The coalition forces are increasing their missile and drone attacks on targets inside Pakistan in recent month, blaming Pakistan’s local Taliban for rising insurgency in Afghanistan.

The attacks, acknowledged by the US officials, have also caused many civilian deaths and triggered mounting anger and criticism across the country.

Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani Wednesday issued a strong statement, criticizing the cross-border attacks by the coalition forces from Afghanistan and vowing to defend the country “at all cost”.

“The sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country will be defended at all cost and no external force is allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan,” said Kayani.

He said there is no agreement or understanding with the coalition forces which allow them to conduct military operations on Pakistani soil.

Meanwhile Afghan President Hamid Karzai Thursday said he hoped the new leadership in Pakistan would speed up the war on militants and help in ensuring regional stability.

“Afghanistan today wants to announce again that (if there is) any step taken by Pakistan in war on terror and improving ( bilateral) relations, Afghanistan would take several steps,” he told a press conference in Kabul.

Karzai, who attended the oath taking ceremony of Pakistan’s newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday in Islamabad said his talks with that country’s president and prime minister were cordial.

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