Wednesday, July 16, 2008
US troops in Afghanistan massed close to the border yesterday for a possible attack on al-Qaeda and Taleban bases in the lawless North Waziristan tribal belt in Pakistan.
Reports from the area said that hundreds of Nato troops were airlifted across the mountains from the village of Lowara Mandi, which has been an important base for cross-border attacks in Afghanistan. Heavy artillery and armoured vehicles were also being moved into position.
The deployment followed a claim by the Afghan Government on Monday that the Pakistani Army and its spy agency had become “the world’s biggest producers of terrorism and extremism”. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry accused Kabul of creating an “artificial crisis to satisfy short-term political expediencies”.
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President Bush said yesterday that the US would investigate the Afghan claims to “get to the bottom of the allegation”. He said that he was troubled by the movement of extremists from Pakistan into Afghanistan.
“I certainly hope that the [Pakistani] Government understands the dangers of extremists moving in their country,” Mr Bush said.Tensions have been heightened since the deaths of nine soldiers on Sunday when insurgents overran a US base in Kunar province, close to the Pakistani border.
Western commanders say there has been a marked increase in cross-border infiltration in the past few months, fuelling the insurgency in Afghanistan. Nato troops have clashed with Pakistani units along the South Waziristan border.
This article was posted: Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 12:11 pm