Posted by: Administrator | 10 March, 2007

Musharraf warns US not to ‘Invade’ Pakistan to hunt Al Qaeda

12 Jan 2008

America will regret entering Pakistan: Musharraf

Islamabad, President Pervez Musharraf warned that any unilateral action by US troops to enter Pakistan’s border region with Afghanistan in the hunt for al-Qaida militants would be regarded as an invasion and asserted they would ‘regret’ that day.

“The United States seems to think that what our army cannot do, they can do. This is a very wrong perception. I challenge anybody to come into our mountains. They would regret that day,” Musharraf said in an interview to Straits Times of Singapore in what seems to be an open dare by him.

Asked if any unauthorised incursion by US forces in the mountainous tribal areas in the hunt for al-Qaida and Taliban militants would be considered an invasion, Musharraf replied, “Certainly. If they come without our permission, that’s against the sovereignty of Pakistan.”

Musharraf’s sternest language yet with the US came in the backdrop of reports that Washington was considering granting the Pentagon and CIA new authority to conduct more aggressive covert operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas where al-Qaida is believed to be gaining strength.

Musharraf, however, said when it comes to Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the ‘methodology of getting him will be discussed together and we’ll attack the target together’.

“Any action against him will be free, if we know where he is, if we have good intelligence,” he said, adding US forces alone would fare no better than their Pakistani counterparts in the rugged terrain.

“Here it’s a mountainous terrain. Minimal communications infrastructure. Every individual has a weapon and each tribe has its own armoury and they don’t like intrusions into their privacy at all,” he said, adding ‘it’s better if they ask some military or intelligence commander of their own whether their army, their people, coming into our mountains will operate better than our army’.

Musharraf also joined issue with US Democratic Presidential contender and Senator Hillary Clinton’s proposal to place Pakistan’s nuclear weapons under supervision by the US and the UK.

Her statement, the President said, was ‘an intrusion into our privacy, into our sensitivity. She doesn’t seem to understand how well-guarded these assets are’.

Musharraf also repeated his advice to Afghan President Hamid Karzai to negotiate with the Taliban.

Not all TalIban wanted to behave barbarously, he said, and military action could not, by itself, provide an ultimate solution. A solution would come by moving simultaneously on the socio-economic, political and military fronts.

The road would be long, and in Afghanistan, coalition forces – the US, NATA, Australia and others – would have to have the stamina to persist.

If US-led coalition forces depart without some stable government in place that is strong enough to defend itself, that would ‘affect the stability of the whole region and the world’, he said.

Musharraf also spoke about his talks with the then US President Bill Clinton on the policy to be adopted towards Taliban when he visited Pakistan.

“We were criticised before Sept 11 because we were the only ones who had a relationship with the Taliban. When I came on the scene in 1999, I spoke to the Saudis, to the United Arab Emirates, they had also recognised the Taliban but had removed their embassies from Kabul. I told President Bill Clinton, who was visiting Islamabad, that we should accept the reality (of the Taliban in power in Kabul), have diplomatic relations with them and then change them from within. Had that happened, some things might have been different today.” 

 Report: Musharraf Warns U.S. Not to ‘Invade’ Pakistan to Hunt Al Qaeda

FOX NEWS —  President Pervez Musharraf warned U.S. troops would be regarded as invaders if they crossed into Pakistan to hunt Al Qaeda militants and said he would resign if opposition parties tried to impeach him after next month’s elections.

Musharraf’s remarks in an interview with Singapore’s The Straits Times published Friday came as police investigated a suicide attack a day earlier in the eastern city of Lahore that killed 24 people, adding to pressures on the former general as he struggles to stay in office eight years after seizing power in military coup.

Pakistan is under growing U.S. pressure to crack down on militants in its tribal regions close to the Afghan border.

The rugged area has long been considered a likely hiding place for Al Qaeda leader Usama bin Laden and his top deputy Ayman al-Zawahri, as well as an operating ground for Taliban militants planning attacks on coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The New York Times reported last week that Washington was considering expanding the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to peruse aggressive covert operations within the tribal regions. Several U.S. presidential candidates have also hinted they would support unilateral action in the area.

//

Musharraf told the Straits Times that U.S. troops would “certainly” be considered invaders if they set foot in the tribal regions. A full transcript of the interview was published on the paper’s Web site.

“If they come without our permission, that’s against the sovereignty of Pakistan. I challenge anybody coming into our mountains,” he said in the interview in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. “They would regret that day.”

Musharraf is also under gathering domestic political pressure.

The party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and the other main opposition grouping are predicted to make gains in the Feb. 18 polls. They have vowed to oust Musharraf if they emerge as winners. Musharraf is seen as vulnerable to impeachment over his decision to fire Supreme Court judges and suspend the constitution last year.

“If that (impeachment) happens, let me assure that I’d be leaving office before they would do anything. If they won with this kind of majority and they formed a government that had the intention of doing this, I wouldn’t like to stick around,” he said. “I would like to quit the scene.”

Musharraf tells US: Stay out of Pakistan

CNN – Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has made it clear that a U.S. military mission to capture Osama bin Laden or other top al Qaeda leaders on Pakistani soil would be unwelcome and “against the sovereignty of Pakistan.”

President Musharraf told the Singapore Straits Times that his military has the experience to operate in the mountainous terrain near the Afghan border and if the United States went in they would “regret that day.”

The New York Times reported last Sunday that the Bush administration is considering expanding covert operations in the western part of Pakistan to shore up support for Musharraf’s government and to find bin Laden and his second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

“Nobody will come here until we ask them to come and we haven’t asked them,” Musharraf told the Strait Times this week.

Strait Times reporter Anthony Paul asked Musharraf: “If the Americans came, would you treat that as an invasion?”

“Certainly,” Musharraf said. “If they come without our permission, that’s against the sovereignty of Pakistan.”

He said if there is good intelligence that bin Laden is hiding in Pakistan “the methodology of getting him will be discussed together and we’ll attack the target together.”

“I do not lead a war on terror on behalf of the United States, but on behalf of Pakistan,” Musharraf told French newspaper Le Figaro in an interview published Saturday.

“It is in Pakistan’s interest to eradicate terrorism and extremism. This is what the Pakistani people wish, it does not want terrorists nor extremists … We are leading our own war, even though Pakistan’s interests on that point are shared with those of the United States and the coalition in Afghanistan.”

Musharraf told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last month that “it is Pakistan’s forces which will act” if there is “actionable intelligence” that senior al Qaeda leaders are in Pakistan, although he would consider U.S. assistance.

In the latest interview, Musharraf noted that U.S. forces were having trouble chasing al Qaeda in similar terrain in southern Afghanistan.

“The United States seems to think that what our army cannot do, they can do,” he said. “This is a very wrong perception. I challenge anybody to come into our mountains. They would regret that day. It’s not easy there.”

Musharraf said every tribes in Pakistan’s FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) “has its own armory and they don’t like intrusions into their privacy at all.”

He said the British never dared go there and the Pakistan government waited 50 years after gaining independence to enter.

“It was only after we dealt with them and reached an agreement with them that we moved in the army in 2001,” he said.

“We do operate in these areas. It’s within the capacity of the Pakistan armed forces. And yet some people think U.S. or coalition forces from Afghanistan will come in and they will hunt him down…This is a misperception.

“It’s better if they ask some military or intelligence commander of their own whether their army, their people, coming into our mountains will operate better than our army. [LINK]

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