Pakistan rebuts US criticism of anti-terror action


Staff member
Islamabad June 30:

Pakistan rejected assertions by US military commanders that its army lacked capacity and commitment in tackling Islamist militants.

Ties between the two countries hit a low point after the May 2 killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden by US navy SEALs in a raid that Pakistani officials say breached its sovereignty. The secret raid fuelled suspicions in Washington about the country's links to extremist groups, and analysts say Pakistan is reluctant to take action against militants it sees as countering the growing influence of India in Afghanistan.

''Our concerns and constraints must be taken into consideration before making any statement questioning our commitment to fighting militancy,'' Pakistan military spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said in a statement yesterday. Pakistani officials say their forces are too stretched to launch any new offensive and that they are consolidating gains made in earlier campaigns. On Tuesday Lieutenant-General John Allen, who is set to take command of Western forces in Afghanistan, told Senate Armed Services Committee members he hoped Pakistan would step up efforts to disable militant groups such as the Haqqani network.

The Haqqani network is the most of brutal Afghanistan's militant groups, fighting US-led NATO forces in Afghanistan from sanctuaries across the border in Pakistan, and Washington has long demanded that Islamabad take action against it.