Thursday, September 27, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

USA, Pak differ on strategy
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 26
Even as discriminating Pakistanis want that country’s military leadership to review its Afghanistan policy, serious cracks have developed between Islamabad and their American interlocutors about the operational aspects of the Bush Administration’s war against international terrorism.

Stung by America’s efforts to rope in the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in tightening the noose around Saudi fugitive Osama bin Laden, Islamabad is fearful of the USA targeting Pakistani religious groups, a euphemism for fundamentalist elements involved in cross-border terrorism.

With pressure mounting on Pakistan to acquiesce to Washington’s demands, there is consternation in the powerful military establishment in Rawalpindi about the non-inclusion of Muslim states among the coalition of countries taking up the gauntlet against the menace of terrorism with the USA in the vanguard.

Another aspect causing heartaches for Pakistan is America’s refusal to seek fresh United Nation’s endorsement in the military build up pertaining to Operation Enduring Freedom. These are some highly vexed issues coming in the way of Pakistan-USA military cooperation against terrorist networks in Afghanistan.

The army establishment in Pakistan is vehemently opposed to any military offensive against the Taliban militia in Afghanistan which has the potential of driving the Northern Alliance in the Panjshir valley to the seat of power in Kabul.

Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf is reportedly of the opinion that American military crackdown should remain focussed on eliminating terrorist camps in Afghanistan without such action spilling over to PoK.

Simultaneously, General Musharraf is keen that any military campaign should not favour anti-Pakistan forces or the Northern Alliance to hold the reigns of power in Afghanistan.

An unsavoury development for Islamabad’s military leadership is America’s resolve to target 26 terrorist outfits including the Pakistan-based Al-Rashid trust and the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM). The Rashid Trust and HUM both have come under the microscope of American investigative and law enforcement agencies.

What the Pakistani military brass finds highly damaging is that the USA wants to neutralise terrorist organisations which have been operating on the soil of some of its allies. A case in point is Jammu and Kashmir where Pakistan-aided terrorists have sought to create a mayhem and indulged in the massacre of innocent men, women and children for more than a decade.

An influential section in Pakistan believes that Islamabad needs to distance itself from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan so that the people are not caught in the war against terrorism. This section wants a more transparent Afghan policy and that Pakistan should give up its erroneous strategic notions.Back


No rift: Islamabad

Islamabad, September 26
Pakistan today dismissed reports of differences with the USA over military action in Afghanistan as “speculative and hypothetical”.

However, Foreign Office spokesman Riaz Ahmed Khan said Pakistan could not join any hostile action against Afghanistan or its people as the destiny of the two was linked. He denied reports which suggested that Islamabad and Washington were not in agreement about the operational modalities in Afghanistan. UNIBack

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