Dawn : Pakistan says US target threat 'irresponsible and dangerous'

Friday, July 20, 2007

Pakistan says US target threat 'irresponsible and dangerous'

July 20, 2007

ISLAMABAD, (AFP) - Pakistan on Friday called White House comments that US forces could unilaterally strike militant targets inside the country “irresponsible and dangerous.”

“Such comments and calls are irresponsible and dangerous,” a Pakistan foreign ministry statement said.

“First and foremost Pakistan is combating extremism and terrorism in its own national interest. Secondly, Pakistan and the United States are partners in the international campaign against terrorism.”

Pakistan stressed that its military action had yielded “concrete results in terms of the disruption of Al-Qaeda and capture of its key leaders and operatives.”

”Therefore it would be counterproductive to create an impression of any divergences or differences on the issue of counterterrorism.”

The Islamabad statement Friday stressed that “we have repeatedly made our position clear that whatever counterterrorism action is to be taken inside Pakistan, it will be taken by our own security forces.”

Meanwhile CNN reported Friday that the United States is offering intelligence and military assistance to Pakistan for operations against militants in tribal regions linked to Al-Qaeda.

The offer was confirmed by General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, during a visit to Germany, a CNN reporter said.

CNN said the top US general was “confirming” that Bush's “administration is now offering Pakistan military assistance for its operations against the Al-Qaeda safe haven in its tribal region.”

The network added that Washington was offering both intelligence and “US firepower” but not American troops.

It remained unclear if Pakistan had accepted the offer, it said. The US Defence Department was not immediately available for comment.