Tags: Pakistan | Says | Yes | Airspace | U.S. | Troops

Pakistan Says Yes to Airspace, No to U.S. Troops

Friday, 14 September 2001 12:00 AM

"We're afraid of a backlash in our country," the official told United Press International on condition of anonymity.

U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin, a former top CIA analyst on the region, met the country's military ruler Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf on Friday for the second time in 24 hours.

The United States asked Pakistan for assistance in launching a global war against terrorism and in responding to Tuesday's terror attacks in New York and Washington.

According to diplomatic sources Thursday, U.S. officials asked Pakistan to allow overflights by American military jets in its airspace; to share vital intelligence; and to cut off fuel supplies to the Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan and close its thousands of miles of mountainous border with the country. The Pakistani official told UPI that his government had agreed to all these demands.

But Friday's report is the first indication that the United States had also requested use of Pakistani territory for staging a ground operation against Afghanistan.

The Pakistani official added that his government feared the presence of U.S. or international troops in the country would provoke a reaction from Islamic conservatives in Pakistan. The presence of troops on the ground would be too obvious, he said.

"We want to support the war, but we don't want it to be manifest," he said.

Osama bin Laden - described by administration officials as a prime suspect in the hunt for the mastermind behind the attacks which are feared to have killed over 5,000 people - is believed to be in Afghanistan, a guest of the Taliban regime there. Pakistan is one of only three countries that recognizes the Taliban.

The U.S. State Department says Pakistan funds the Taliban, and Islamabad is thought to hold considerable influence in the country.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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We're afraid of a backlash in our country, the official told United Press International on condition of anonymity. U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin, a former top CIA analyst on the region, met the country's military ruler Gen. Pervaiz Musharraf on Friday for...
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2001-00-14
Friday, 14 September 2001 12:00 AM
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