Lahore, May 5 : A section of counter-terrorism officials in the US fear that the peace deals which the Pakistan government was offering to terrorists in the tribal areas might lead to "worst nightmare" scenario whereby al Qaeda leaders will have more freedom than ever to recruit and train new members.
According to a report in Newsweek, the Bush administration is internally divided over how best to approach the situation. US officials say that they are particularly alarmed by the new coalition government's negotiations with militant commander Baitullah Mehsud, the Daily Times quoted the magazine report as saying.
The report said that that many intelligence officials believe that the U.S. must press Pakistan to resist going too far in accommodating militants. "We continuously say that this is where bad things happen," the magazine quoted one of the officials as saying.
Meanwhile, US State Department diplomats believe that Pakistan's new leadership should be given some room to sort out its own problems. "The new government wants to distance itself from the policies of [President Pervez] Musharraf. They want to fight terrorism in their own way," said a senior US official said.
In the past, such peace deals failed to materialize, said another US official.