Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Pakistani army to shoot at “intruding” U.S. forces

The newspaper’s report is based on a "deep background" column in the “American Conservative” magazine by former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi, who is now an international security advisor and writer on intelligence issues. "President Musharraf has been receiving angry reports from his military that U.S. forces have been engaging in hot pursuit across the border in violation of bilateral agreements," the report said.



Pakistani army to shoot at “intruding” U.S. forces

The Pakistani government has ordered the army to shoot at U.S. forces if they intrude into the country from neighboring Afghanistan without authorization.

The Daily Times newspapers reported on Tuesday that "Pakistan has issued new rules of engagement permitting its army to fire at U.S. forces that cross the border from Afghanistan without coordinating first,"

Currently there are about 17,000 U.S. troops based in Afghanistan.

The newspaper’s report is based on a "deep background" column in the “American Conservative” magazine by former CIA officer Phillip Giraldi, who is now an international security advisor and writer on intelligence issues.

"President Musharraf has been receiving angry reports from his military that U.S. forces have been engaging in hot pursuit across the border in violation of bilateral agreements," the report said.

“An unpleasant surprise”

The Pakistani President is also unhappy about the recent withdrawal of Predators and other surveillance systems from Pakistan to Iraq for use against Iran, the article added.

Citing senior Pakistani officials, the newspaper also said that Musharraf and his army chiefs "expended a great deal of political capital" in the hunting operations against Al-Qaeda network.

"The U.S. Central Command's January announcement that the drones and other supporting surveillance technologies that were being used against Al Qaeda would be withdrawn to support 'elections in Iraq' was an unpleasant surprise, particularly when 'in Iraq' turned out to be a euphemism for 'against Iran'," the report added.

The surveillance planes have not yet been returned and several operations in the border areas are pending, the newspaper said.

"Musharraf has had a difficult time explaining to his own supporters in the military, and to the Pakistani public, why he continues to be so supportive of U.S. policies in the region," it added.

Permanent U.S. military bases sought in Afghanistan

Meanwhile, a top U.S. lawmaker called on Tuesday for permanent U.S. military bases in Afghanistan to protect American security interests in a region that includes Pakistan, Iran and China.

Sen. John McCain, the head of a five-strong U.S. Senate delegation that held talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said that he was committed to a "strategic partnership that we believe must endure for many, many years.

"Not only for the good of the Afghan people, but also for the good of the American people because of the long-term security interests that we have in the region," McCain said.

Asked about the aspects of such a partnership, he said: "Economic assistance, technical assistance, military partnership including — and this is a personal view — joint military permanent bases and also cultural exchanges."