U.S. commander of Middle East forces praises Pakistan’s role in fighting terrorism
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East praised Pakistan’s intelligence service on Saturday for its fight against terrorism.Gen. John Abizaid, who met with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Saturday, made the comments in talks with Musharraf at his office in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad, a government statement said.”(Abizaid) particularly lauded the role of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in the anti-terror campaign, and said their cooperation was crucial in thwarting plots and apprehending most-wanted terrorists,” it said.Indian police a week ago alleged that Pakistan’s secret service – the Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence, or ISI – was behind a series of bombings that hit Mumbai trains in July, killing more than 200 people.Pakistan immediately denied the claims and demanded evidence.The Indian allegation came days after the British Broadcasting Corp. reported that a document prepared for Britain’s Defense Ministry accused ISI of indirectly supporting terrorist groups, including al-Qaida.Musharraf rejected the documents, while Britain’s Ministry of Defense also clarified that the leaked document was academic research and did not represent the British government’s view.On Saturday, Musharraf reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to combating terrorism, and called for close cooperation in intelligence sharing. Musharraf and Abizaid also discussed the ongoing cooperation between both countries’ armed forces.Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its fight against international terrorism.Abizaid often visits Islamabad to ensure coordination between Pakistan and U.S.-led forces that have operated in neighboring Afghanistan since late 2001 when the Taliban regime was ousted for sheltering al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.On Friday, two American senators visited the Afghan capital, Kabul, and asked Pakistan to do more to stem the infiltration of insurgents into Afghanistan. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., spent a few days in Afghanistan during a regional tour that included a stop in Pakistan.Pakistan has said it is doing its best to curb militancy and secure its border with Afghanistan.
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