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
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.