| Suspects Muhammed Abid Afridi (right) of Pakistan and US citizen Ilyas Ali leave a Hong Kong court after agreeing to be extradited to the US. They are wanted for plotting to supply missiles to the al Qaida. (AP/PTI)
Islamabad, Jan. 6 (PTI): Amidst reports that they have agreed to continue the hot pursuit of al Qaida and Taliban militants without making their chase public, American and Pakistani military officials held a meeting at a village on the Pakistan-Afghan border to defuse current tensions.
Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and US secretary of state Colin Powell have agreed that troops on the ground would react according to the situation but neither side would issue a statement without consulting the other, diplomatic sources in Washington told the Dawn.
“This means that if a situation requires hot pursuit, it will be done but there will be no angry remarks from either side, as we saw after the December 29 incident,” a Washington-based diplomat said.
In Pakistan, the clash caused angry protests in several cities against US forces while American military officials insisted that they reserved the “right to cross the border”
The assertions by US military officials that they had a right to hot pursuit the fleeing Taliban and al Qaida forces drew angry reactions from Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Muhammad Kasuri who in a statement rejected the American officials’ claims on hot pursuit.
However, according to the newspaper, the US forces could go in hot pursuit without making their chase public.
Military officials of Pakistan, US and allied forces in Afghanistan met yesterday at Angoor Adda, a Pakistani border village in southern Wajiristan agency to defuse tensions on the border and to boost efforts to counter efforts of Taliban and al- Qaida operatives. The meeting, which lasted throughout the day, was held amid tight security, The News reported from Wajiristan’s headquarter town of wana.
The Pakistani delegation was represented by general office commanding Kohat Mohammad tahir and commandant of the Waziristan Scouts Force Mohammad Saeed Khan while a US general stationed in Afghanistan headed the 8-member team of allied forces.
The meeting followed tensions between the two sides after a Pakistani scout allegedly fired on a US soldier and wounded him on December 29. Subsequently a US plane bombed a madrasa located close to the border.
The meeting took stock of the situation on the border after the border clash. During the meeting all shops were closed and people coming for shopping were not allowed to enter the local bazaar.