The United States says it reserves the right for its military forces to enter Pakistan in pursuit of enemy fighters who flee there from Afghanistan.
U-S military spokesman Major Stephen Clutter said in Afghanistan today (Friday) that is a long-standing policy, accepted by Pakistan although not acknowledged publicly. However, recent news reports quote Pakistani government ministers as saying there is no blanket policy of permitting such cross-border "hot pursuit."
Pakistan is an important ally in the U-S-led war on terrorism. Thousands of troops are deployed on Pakistan's western border to stop Taleban and al-Qaida fighters fleeing Afghanistan.
In Pakistan today, hard-line Islamic leaders are staging nationwide demonstrations, denouncing possible military action against Iraq. Protesters rallied outside several mosques, chanting anti-U-S slogans.
The hard-line groups oppose Pakistan's support of the war on terror. They have called on U-S troops to leave the region.