| Prince Charles talks to a student during a visit to Fatima Jinnah University in Rawalpindi on Tuesday. (AP)
Khar (Pakistan), Oct. 31 (AP): Pakistan’s army spokesman said today the military used intelligence provided by US-led coalition forces in an air raid that left 80 people dead.
Thousands of pro-Taliban tribesmen threatened to send suicide bombers to attack Pakistan forces and execute people found spying for the Americans.
Major General Shaukat Sultan, the chief army spokesman, said American forces did not take part in yesterday’s attack on a madarsa that the military said was a front for an al Qaida training camp. But he said intelligence was provided in line with long-standing cooperation with coalition forces in Afghanistan to battle terrorists operating along the porous border between the South Asian countries.
“Intelligence sharing was definitely there, but to say they (the coalition) have carried out the operation, that is absolutely wrong,” Sultan said. “One doesn’t know ... what was the percentage of help (was provided).”
Sultan later denied he had made the remarks.
In Kabul, Colonel Tom Collins, a US military spokesman, said it is common knowledge that the US, Pakistan and Afghanistan share intelligence as part of a three-way military agreement. But he said he had no information regarding the recent operation in Pakistan.
Another US spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Paul Fitzpatrick, said no US equipment, aircraft or forces were involved in the operation, but he declined to say whether any other American assistance was provided.
“Pakistan is a US ally in the war on terror and the US does routinely share intelligence with its allies,” he said. “However, I cannot comment on any particular operation.”
According to a Pakistan security official, al Qaida deputy Ayman al-Zawahri and the terror leader behind the plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners had frequented the madarsa, but were not there during the attack.
Up to 20,000 people protested today in Khar, the main town in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal Bajur district, claiming innocent students and teachers were killed in the attack in nearby Chengai village. Local pro-Taliban elder Inayatur Rahman said he has prepared a “squad of suicide bombers” to target Pakistani security forces.