The comments, by Pakistani military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan, came a day after the outgoing head of U.S. intelligence operations said that Pakistan, while a key U.S. ally, was also a refuge for top terrorist leaders.
John Negroponte, who is expected to become a deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, said that Al-Qaeda leaders were rebuilding their network from a secure hideout in Pakistan.
Meanwhile today, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher met with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad to address security concerns in the region.
The visit was also seen as a bid to calm tensions between Pakistan and Afghanistan, raised by Islamabad's plans to fence and mine parts of the two countries' border.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2005 (epa)
ACROSS A DIFFICULT BORDER. The contested border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is some 2,500 kilometers long and runs through some of the most rugged, inhospitable territory on Earth. Controlling that border and preventing Taliban militants from using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan is an essential part of the U.S.-led international coalition's strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Officials in Kabul have been pointing their fingers at Pakistan for some time, accusing Islamabad or intelligence services of turning a blind eye to cross-border terrorism targeting the Afghan central government. Many observers remain convinced that much of the former Taliban regime's leadership -- along with leaders of Al-Qaeda -- are operating in the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border region.... (more)