Ottawa, Sept. 26 (Reuters): Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said today the US was so deeply involved in joint operations with Pakistan to hunt down Taliban and al Qaida militants that it had to take some of the blame when missions failed.
Pakistan has deployed thousands of troops along its long porous border with Afghanistan to hunt Taliban militants from Afghanistan’s former regime and the al Qaida network blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US.
But there is opposition in Pakistan’s Pashtun-dominated border regions to the crackdown and some critics allege rogue elements in the Pakistani military spy service — the ISI — sympathise with the Taliban.
Musharraf said the border region was so inhospitable that Pakistan needed high-technology intelligence devices to help intercept communications by cell phone and computers.
“Pakistan has no such devices. We are being assisted by intelligence agencies from next door to here, from the US,” said Musharraf, adding that Washington was also supplying unmanned Predator drones for aerial surveillance.
“So if anyone is failing, if the ISI which is being maligned as failing, then so are the intelligence agencies on this side because this intelligence operation is being conducted jointly,” he said in a speech to the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.
Pakistan, a key ally in Washington’s war on terror, has arrested hundreds of Taliban and al Qaida militants.