Washington, July 3 : US' top military official has reportedly said that he has all the authority for targeting senior Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders inside Pakistan's tribal areas from across the Afghanistan border. But, he refused to say if the US troops were also allowed to operate inside the Pakistan territory.
"I'm comfortable, as the military leader, that I have all the authorities I need," said Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked if he had the authority to target key terrorist leaders hiding in FATA.
When asked if the authority included operating in an effort to go after Taliban or Al Qaeda leadership without Pakistani permission, he said: "I'm not going to get into the specifics of it," reported the Dawn.
Only yesterday, the Washington Times had reported that the US has an agreement with President Pervez Musharraf to launch direct attacks targeting elusive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistani territory without prior permission from Islamabad.
According to the US' daily, CIA-operated Predator drones may strike Bin Laden's hideout without taking permission beforehand from Islamabad if the US locates him in the tribal areas.
However, Pakistani diplomatic sources in Washington said that neither Musharraf nor the present day elected government could have made such an arrangement. "Our forces are capable of dealing with any situation. We do not need outside forces to do that for us. If they share information with us, we will take action," said Nadeem Kiani, a spokesman for the Pakistan Embassy.