Coalition forces admit non-permission for strikes inside Pakistan

KABUL: The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has admitted that it did not have permission from Pakistan to attack Taliban positions across the border. The coalition originally said Pakistan had approved the attacks on Saturday, in which more than a dozen Taleban are said to have been killed. At the time Islamabad said such suggestions were fabricated. The coalition now says that further investigation showed no such authority had been granted from Pakistan.

“We regret the miscommunication in this event,” the coalition’s deputy commanding general for operations, Brig-Gen Joseph Votel, said. He said the coalition was committed to respecting the sovereign borders of Pakistan. Brig-Gen Votel said that the coalition wanted to continue co-operation with Pakistan, “which has been an important ally in fighting the enemies of peace and stability”. “We appreciate the significant contributions Pakistan is making to the war on terror by conducting operations against al-Qaeda and Taleban extremist fighters who try to hide in their country,” he said.

US President George Bush this month refused to rule out unilateral US strikes on Pakistani soil if specific intelligence pinpointed top al-Qaeda leaders. Remnants of the Taleban fled to Pakistan after they were driven from Afghanistan during the US-led invasion of late 2001. Islamabad has repeatedly said it would not allow foreign troops to hunt extremist militants linked to al-Qaeda or the Taleban on its soil. It says that it is capable of dealing with them on its own. The US and others say deals Pakistan made in tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan provided a “safe haven” for militants.-SANA

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Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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