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Report Says US Plan for Commandos in Pakistan Delayed

  • VOA News

A leading US newspaper says US officials drafted a secret plan last year to make it easier for American special forces to operate in Pakistan's tribal regions.

"The New York Times" reports today the plan was designed to end disagreements among U.S. government agencies about how to pursue leaders of the al-Qaida terrorist network. But the newspaper says the plan has not been implemented.

A US Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitmandismissed the report's claims that the Pentagon is frustrated about not using US troops to hunt terrorists inside Pakistan. But he said there is frustration that militants have taken safe haven along Pakistan's porous border with Afghanistan.

"The New York Times" says al-Qaida has a string of camps in Pakistan's border area. It says that gives the terrorist group a similar capability to what it had before the September 11th, 2001 attacks on the United States.

The newspaper says its story is based on more than four dozen interviews with current and former US and Pakistani officials. It quotes the Pakistani general responsible for the region as denying allegations of a strong terrorist presence.

In Pakistan today, militants accused forces inside Afghanistan of firing a missile at the house of a leading Pakistani insurgent.

The explosion in Pakistan's Khyber tribal region destroyed the house of a militant chief Haji Namdar and killed at least seven people. Namdar survived.

Some Pakistani officials said the attack was part of an ongoing security operation in the area, while others denied Pakistani troops fired on the building.

Separately, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher today that Pakistan would never negotiate with militants or allow foreigners to use Pakistani soil to attack another country. But Mr. Gilani said Pakistan would talk to militants who laid down their weapons.

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