Wednesday, January 23, 2008
So, Pakistan is not trying to find Osama bin Laden? That's what Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, said yesterday during a visit to France, according to the Associated Press. But isn't finding bin Laden the justification for sending U.S. troops to Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan, and dislodging the Taliban from power there? And isn't that why the U.S. has given billions of dollars to Pakistan? Musharraf said Tuesday that it was more important to fight remnants of the Taliban on the Afghan border than to search for leaders of al-Qaida, the terrorist group that took responsibility for the Sept. 11 attacks in the United States, and the fact that bin Laden and al-Qaida second-in-command Ayman Al-Zawahri are still at large and believed hiding in the border region "doesn't mean much." What does the White House think about this? A top State Department official, counterterrorism chief Dell Dailey, said the Bush administration was displeased with the quality of intelligence from Pakistan about what was going on in the border region. "We don't have enough information about what's going on there -- not on al-Qaida, not on foreign fighters, not on the Taliban," Dailey told the AP. Musharraf, who as commander of Pakistan's military seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, said the remnants of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime and its Pakistani sympathizers are the "more serious issue" for both countries. Musharraf, the former commander of Pakistan's armed forces, seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who met with Musharraf yesterday, expressed support for Pakistan's fight with extremists, the AP reported.