Thursday, September 20, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

USA wants Pak airbases near Afghanistan

Islamabad, September 19
As the USA geared up for military action against Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban and Osama bin Laden, prime suspect in last week’s terror attacks in the USA, Pakistan has received indications from American military officials that they want to make “limited use” of airforce bases in Peshawar and Quetta, which border Afghanistan.

“The personnel of US special forces of the 82 and 101 Airborne Division would require emergency ground facilities in both the air force bases,” a local daily here said quoting Pakistan military officials.

“The facilities may be used by the airborne troops carrier that may takeoff for various destinations in Afghanistan from US aircraft carriers off the Pakistan coast of Mekran in the Arabian Sea and also Bahrain, a regional base for the airborne division,” ‘The News’ said, quoting officials.

“You can run a limited war with the facilities that the US navy had in the Arabian Sea but they are not a substitute for solid support paraphernalia on the ground”, it quoted a Pakistani naval official as saying.

Meanwhile, the head of a group of 35 Pakistani Islamic organisations has said they will have to obey any Taliban order for a religious war if the USA attacked Afghanistan.

Maulana Sami-ul Haq, chairman of the Pakistan and Defence Council that includes 35 pro-Taliban Islamic groups, warned Pakistan’s military leader Pervez Musharraf against backing the US campaign against the Taliban and their ‘’guest’’ Osama bin Laden.

WASHINGTON: A US interagency team is expected to visit Pakistan this week to discuss specific ways in which Islamabad could help the US anti-terrorism effort, US officials said. PTI

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