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‘No foreign troops can operate on our soil’

Haqqani
Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani. — Photo by AP

WASHINGTON: Pakistan ruled out the notion of any foreign troops operating on its soil, with its top diplomat in Washington stressing that Pakistani forces are capable of handling the militant threat within the country's borders.

“Pakistani forces are capable of handling the militant threat within our borders and no foreign forces are allowed or required to operate inside our sovereign territory,” Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said.

He was commenting on a story in The New York Times, which claimed that US commanders based in Afghanistan were pushing for special forces raids on militant targets across the border into Pakistani territory.

Haqqani said “US and Pakistani forces understand each others terms of engagement well” and have a very high-level of cooperation as allies fighting a common enemy, along the Afghan border.

“We work with our allies, especially the US, and appreciate their material support but we will not accept foreign troops on our soil — a position that is well known,” he stated.

Reminding critics of Pakistan's anti-terror efforts along the Afghan border, where the country has deployed well over 100,000 troops, Haqqani said: “We have made enormous gains and tremendous sacrifices in fighting terrorists over the last two years and will continue our efforts for our own security and that of the whole world.”

He pointed out that Pakistani and US officials remain constantly in touch and “do not need anonymous source news reports to tell us about each others' thinking.”

In this context, the ambassador cited the recent visit of US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, who during his trip “acknowledged Pakistan's contribution”.

“Nothing discussed during his trip indicates the likelihood of ill-advised escalation or unilateral action by Nato troops beyond their mandate in Afghanistan.”

Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US will “continue to work together to root out al Qaeda and other terrorists and bring stability and prosperity to our region,” the ambassador noted.


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