US allays strike speculations in Pakistan's Tribal Areas

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Washington, Jan 13: Amid speculations that US was planning to launch unilateral air strikes on Pakistan"s Tribal Areas to combat Al Qaeda, US State Department has said that any action from US" side would be done in full co-operation with Islamabad.

A State Department spokesman said that in the past too, Washington had always taken Pakistan into confidence. "Certainly anything that the US has done and anything the US will do will be in full cooperation with the Pakistani government," the Daily Times quoted State Department Spokesman Tom Casey as saying.

Earlier this week, a leading English US daily Boston Globe had warned Pakistan against carrying out any unilateral strikes on Pakistan"s Tribal Areas because it might have "calamitous unintended consequences", both on Pakistan and the US, and, instead it should enhance co-operation with the Pakistani military and intelligence services.

The daily had said that Pakistani military and intelligence services had "strong reasons of their own to crush the head of that snake".

Warning the Bush administration against the unilateral operation by US special forces in Pakistan"s Tribal Areas, it said it would be "a foolish undertaking, one that is almost certain to have calamitous unintended consequences".

It further said that while concerns about Al Qaeda"s increasing strength and how it has reconstituted itself in Pakistan are to be taken seriously, the understandable impulse to go after Al Qaeda with US operatives, rather than Pakistani troops or security services, has to be "weighed against the likely outcome of American armed intervention in Pakistan".

"Once it becomes known that America violated international law and Pakistan"s sovereignty, nearly all the disparate groups across the Pakistani political spectrum will be united in anger aimed at the American interventionists. The domestic effect within Pakistan will be to strengthen Islamist currents, allowing the army and President Musharraf to be painted as stooges of an arrogant superpower," it added.

It suggested that US policy makers ought to recognise that a decision to land US troops on the ground in the tribal areas is "almost certain to make nuclear-armed Pakistan more unstable".

"Such actions will make it harder than ever for political parties and for individual democrats or human rights advocates in Pakistan to side with America. Conversely, the Pakistanis most vulnerable to the propaganda of Al Qaeda and its affiliates will turn more anti-American than ever."

ANI

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