View Full Version : U.S. "Retains The Option" Of Attacking Militants In Pakistan

07-19-2007, 08:56 AM
US 'retains the option' of attacking militants in Pak.


Washington, July 19 (PTI): The United States today said it "retains the option" of striking "actionable" targets inside Pakistan, despite Islamabad moving troops in the restive Frontier areas to contain the Islamist militants.

"We also retain, we certainly do not rule out options and we retain the option, especially of striking actionable targets," White House Press Secretary Tony Snow said.

Snow, acknowledging Musharraf's effort, said "Gen Musharraf understands the realities and they have began moving troops before the National Intelligence Estimate came out. And they've been moving troops into the area because they understand that they've got a challenge there and they need to deal with it," he added.

Pakistan's role in the war on terror and the fact that it has become a safe haven for the al-Qaeda leadership was once again discussed at the briefing, a day after US officials discussed the latest NIE that pointed to Pakistan as being a potential element in an attack against the US.

Stressing that Musharraf was indeed determined to get to the al-Qaeda leadership he said, "Pervez Musharraf is a guy who twice has been the target of al-Qaeda plots to kill him. I think he understands far more vividly than you or I the importance of breaking up al-Qaeda and going after terror elements."

"We want to get bin Laden, and the sooner the better." the White House spokesperson said refusing to speculate if the terror kingpins could be nabbed.

Snow, when asked for Washington's response to the NIE, rattled off saying "The Pakistani government has a development plan of about USD100 million for the region. We're also committed to providing USD150 million a year for five years."

The US has committed to USD300 million a year in foreign military financing and will also provide coalition support funds to reimburse expenditures incurred in operations in the war on terror.

"We have provided 100 forward observation bases within the tribal areas and provided fixed wing aircraft, helicopters for doing surveillance and trying to make is possible for more rapid deployment," he said.

President Musharraf wants additional funding to support the Frontier Corps, who represent the majority of those fighting in the federally administered tribal areas, and we're looking for ways to support the request, he added.

"So there's considerable discussion going on, but it is clearly of the utmost importance to go in there and deal with the problem in the tribal areas," he added.

The senior White House official refused to speculate if the terror kingpins could be nabbed.

"... we hope for that day. I'm not going to try to make a prediction. It is obviously a very difficult business. But make no mistake about it: We're determined to get bin Laden. We're determined to get Zawahiri. We're determined to get senior leadership of al Qaeda," Snow said.

Snow would not second guess whether the President George W Bush had really allowed President Musharraf to have given more time for the the peace plan with the tribal elders to work.

"... Pakistan is a sovereign government. And Pervez Musharraf is a man who, as president of Pakistan and as the general, has an obligation and a challenge to do what he thinks is going to be most effective in securing peace within his own land," he said.

Also at the same time obviously dealing with many of the issues that have to do with border -- the incursion across the border of Taliban fighters into Afghanistan. The one thing we can say for sure is that the plan, as well-intentioned as it was, didn't work," Snow replied.