Aug 2, 2007

Pakistan slams Obama's attack warning

Pakistan accused Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama of “sheer ignorance” on Thursday for threatening to launch US military strikes against Al-Qaeda on Pakistani soil.

Obama warned Wednesday that if he is elected president, he would order US forces to hit extremist targets on Pakistan’s frontier with Afghanistan if embattled military ruler President Pervez Musharraf failed to act.

“Such statements are being made out of sheer ignorance,” Pakistan’s Minister of State for Information, Tariq Azeem, told AFP. ”They are not fully apprised about the ground realities and not aware of the efforts by Pakistan.”

Islamabad has bristled against a string of similar threats in recent weeks by the administration of US President George W. Bush, whose top counter-terror official in July refused to rule out US strikes in Pakistan.

Musharraf, struggling to contain a wave of Islamist violence unleashed by the army’s bloody storming of the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad three weeks ago, himself firmly rejected any US action last week.

“We have said before that we will not allow anyone to infringe our sovereignty,” Azeem said.

“If there is any actionable intelligence they should tell us and only our forces will take action on it and they are quite capable of it.”

The minister suggested that Obama’s comments were prompted by Washington’s inability to curb the ongoing Taleban insurgency in neighbouring Afghanistan, where US-led forces toppled the hardline regime in late 2001.

“This seems to be a reaction to their own failure in Afghanistan to control the US casualties and instead of addressing the situation there, they are finding scapegoats and damaging their own cause,” Azeem added.

Pakistan foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam on Wednesday warned against “point-scoring” by US presidential candidates on vital security issues.

Musharraf abandoned Islamabad’s support for the Taleban in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

He has said that a top US official warned that Pakistan would be bombed back to the “stone age” if it failed to join Washington’s ”war on terror”.

No comments:

Post a Comment