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Pakistan Rejects Charges It Harbors Terror Leaders January 12, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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ISLAMABAD (AP)–Rejecting accusations from America’s top spy that Pakistan is harboring al-Qaida and Taliban leaders, Islamabad said Friday it remained committed to fighting international terrorism and extremism.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that John Negroponte’s claim that Pakistan represents a major source of Islamic extremism and a refuge for top terror leaders is “incorrect.”

“In breaking the back of al-Qaida, Pakistan has done more than any other country in the world,” Negroponte’s statement said.

Negroponte, the U.S. national intelligence director, said in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday that “eliminating the safe haven that the Taliban and other extremists have found in Pakistan’s tribal areas is not sufficient to end the insurgency in Afghanistan, but it is necessary.”

NATO and the Afghan government say Taliban and al-Qaida guerrillas are launching attacks on U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan from neighboring Pakistan. Violence rose sharply in Afghanistan in 2006, with militants killing about 4,000 people in what was the deadliest year since the U.S.-led coalition swept the Taliban from power in 2001.

U.S. officials have said they believe al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and other top terror commanders are taking refuge in the region, likely on the Pakistani side of the border. Pakistan has repeatedly rejected such claims.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said, “It is also a fact that there are al-Qaida elements active in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, as Mr. Negroponte has said, but it would be incorrect to link them to any remnants of al-Qaida in Pakistan.”

On its part, “Pakistan continues to pursue these remnants as well as other terrorists and extremist elements,” the statement said, adding, “Pakistan remains committed to fighting international terrorism and extremism.”

The statement continued, “As part of international coalition against terrorism, our efforts are also helping the international community to counter this grave danger. When Mr. Negroponte mentions the capture and killing of hundreds of al-Qaida members since 9/11, he should acknowledge the efforts of the country that made this possible.”

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said in statement released after a meeting with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher in Islamabad on Friday that his country maintains “unwavering commitment to fight extremism and terrorism.”

The statement said that security along the Pakistani-Afghan border was a “joint responsibility” of Pakistan, Afghanistan and U.S.-led forces stationed there.

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