IHT : Pakistan rebuffs U.S. report

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pakistan rebuffs U.S. report

July 18, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: A U.S. intelligence report that al-Qaida is regrouping in northwestern Pakistan is unsubstantiated, Pakistan said Wednesday, and asked Washington to provide it with "actionable intelligence."

"We would firmly act to eliminate any al-Qaida hide-out on the basis of specific intelligence or information," the Pakistani Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"It does not help simply to make assertions about the presence or regeneration of al-Qaida in bordering areas of Pakistan. What is needed is concrete and actionable information and intelligence sharing," it said.

In the U.S. report released Tuesday, analysts argue that crumbling state control of Pakistan's wild frontier offers al-Qaida an increasingly comfortable hide-out from which to plot attacks also on the United States.

A briefing paper on the National Intelligence Estimate, prepared for U.S. President George W. Bush and other top policymakers, said a peace deal in Pakistan's North Waziristan region helped al-Qaida set up compounds for training, improve its international communications and bolster its operations.

The Foreign Ministry said Pakistan was "determined not to allow al-Qaida or any other terrorist entity to establish a safe haven on its territory" both in its own interests and together with the international community.

It also reiterated that no foreign security forces would be allowed to pursue militants in its territory.

"This is the basis of our cooperation. We have deployed troops, established check posts and done selective fencing. Any further action that needs to be taken against terrorist elements will be taken," it said.