President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan attempted to convince President Bush today that a deal he approved with tribal leaders in one of the country’s most lawless border areas would result in driving Al Qaeda and Taliban forces out of the area, rather than give them more freedom to operate. Skip to next paragraph
Mr. Bush and his national security aides were clearly skeptical, according to administration officials, but at a press conference, Mr. Bush appeared to take Mr. Musharraf’s assurances at face value. Mr. Musharraf knew that there were enough questions in the air about what amounted to a face-saving retreat for the Pakistani Army that he felt compelled to explain, “This deal is not at all with the Taliban. As I said, this is against the Taliban, actually.’’
At the heart of the discussion in the Oval Office was a fear among American officials that Mr. Musharraf, whose political hold over sections of his own country is tenuous at best, is only episodically engaged in the battle against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. That has been an increasingly contentious issue between Afghanistan and Pakistan, with Afghan leaders complaining that many of the attacks launched against Afghan targets are originating from Pakistan’s side of the border.
The visit marked the fifth anniversary of the radical change in Washington’s relationship with Islamabad after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, but the uneasiness of the alliance created out of those events was on full display today.
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Posted by Forkum at September 25, 2006 08:11 PM