Paks defend Taliban truce deal, relate how they joined war against Taliban
Pakistan's point man on a truce with tribal elders along the country's restive border with Afghanistan yesterday rejected charges that the agreement would undermine the fight against Islamic extremists.I think the story about Armitage is probably true. At the time President Bush made it clear that people had to make a choice of whether they were going to be with us or the terrorist. Many have criticized that position, but it is pretty clear that we would not have had Pakistans cooperation without it. Pakistan made a better choice than the Taliban and its government survived and benefitted from the assistance from the US.
Gov. Ali Muhammad Jan Aurakzai of North West Frontier Province also criticized the United States for being slow to deliver on critical military equipment and support needed to combat Taliban fighters.
Mr. Aurakzai, who was a corps commander in the border region when the United States invaded Afghanistan, said the agreement he had helped hammer out with tribal leaders of North Waziristan was part of a broader strategy to keep terrorists out.
"It's not just a peace agreement. It is a larger strategy with a military arm, a political arm and a reconstruction arm," Mr. Aurakzai told editors and reporters at The Washington Times yesterday. The government planned to pump $2 billion into the tribal areas over the next nine years for "massive development," he said.
Top officials in both Afghanistan and the United States are skeptical of the deal and of Islamabad's overall commitment to the war on terror. The officials fear that Taliban fighters will continue to use Pakistan as a safe haven, harbored by tribal leaders.
The Taliban rulers of Afghanistan gave refuge to Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders until the September 11, 2001, attacks, and Pakistan was one of the regime's closest allies. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said he decided to cooperate with Washington in the war on terror following a U.S. threat to bomb his country.
In an interview with the CBS news magazine show "60 Minutes" that will air Sunday, Gen. Musharraf said then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage had conveyed the U.S. threat to Pakistan's intelligence chief.
"The intelligence director told me that [Mr. Armitage] said, 'Be prepared to be bombed. Be prepared to go back to the Stone Age,'" Gen. Musharraf said. "One has to think and take actions in the interests of the nation, and that's what I did."