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US-Pak pursuit row hots up

Islamabad, Jan. 4: Pakistan today publicly slammed the door on America’s self-proclaimed right to hot pursuit across the Afghanistan border, capping a week of dramatic escalation in tension between the allies of the war against terror.

“Operations within Pakistani territory would be conducted solely and exclusively by our own forces and in response to decisions taken by Pakistan,” foreign minister Mian Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri said.

The assertion came a day after the US military spokesperson in Kabul, Capt. Alayne Cramer, said: “We can enter Pakistan, that is the policy. ”

On December 29, a man dressed as a Pakistani border guard opened fire on American troops inside Afghanistan, wounding one. A US warplane later dropped a large bomb on disputed land near the Afghan-Pakistan frontier.

Tension is said to be running high in the Pakistani and US military ranks. Cramer is reported to have delivered a terse message from Gen. Tommy Franks, head of the US operations in the region, to a Pakistani colonel.

The crux of Frank’s message was that “enough is enough” and that US forces would cross the border if they are fired at from the Pakistani side. The Pakistani colonel and the US spokesperson are reportedly not on speaking terms now.

Kasuri said US secretary of state Colin Powell and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf spoke about the incident yesterday and agreed that it may have been due to a “misunderstanding”.

n Pak nuke think-tank leaks, Page 4

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