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Kayani attacks US
Gilani backs him on US raids inside Pakistan
Afzal Khan writes from Islamabad

Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday endorsed army chief General Ashfaq Kayani's statement on US attacks inside Pakistan territory, saying it reflected the policy of his government.

General Kayani presided over a meeting of the top brass of the army amid national debate currently raging over strident American statements that it would continue attacks on Pakistani villages in pursuit of Taliban militants.

In a brief chat with newsmen, Gilani was asked to comment on an unusually strong statement by Kayani on Wednesday evening that Pakistan would not allow the Coalition Forces to make any inroads insides Pakistan territory. He refuted the presence of any agreement with the Americans to allow them to operate within the Pakistani territory and said the army would defend the sovereignty and integrity of the country at all costs.

Prime Minister Gilani advised people to not to be overly concerned over statements by US admiral Mullen, chairman joint chiefs of staff committee. Mullen told a congressional committee that US forces have devised a comprehensive strategy to attack militants across the Pak-Afghan border.

President Bush was also quoted by the New York Times as having given permission to US forces to also operate inside Pakistani territory against the militants.

"We are a responsible nation, and government and army stance on US actions is very clear and same," Gilani said.

The military commanders in their meeting are believed to discussed in depth the situation arising out of belligerent statements emanation from United States and reaffirmed resolve not to allow any foreign force to make incursions inside Pakistan territory.

All corps commanders and principal staff officers attended the conference.



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