ISLAMABAD, Dec 11: The US-led coalition has not found any evidence that Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda had acquired or produced weapons of mass destruction, spokesman Kenton Keith said on Tuesday.

Although no evidence has been found, some documents have been recovered which were specifically on the subject of various kinds of weapons of mass destruction, Mr Keith told a daily news briefing.

“What they wanted to achieve from these documents is not clear,” he said, adding that in their judgment Osama and Al Qaeda were not able to acquire or produce any kind of weapon of mass destruction.

The spokesman reiterated that Pakistan and the United States had been cooperating against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism, and added that it would not be fair to assume that some Pakistani scientists, who were under detention, had been involved in proliferation of such weapons.

Mr Keith denied reports that Pakistani troops were fighting in Afghanistan.

He avoided a direct reply to the question whether the US authorities were involved in interrogation of Pakistani scientists.

“We are cooperating with the Pakistan government and will continue to do so” was all what Mr Keith said about the US involvement in interrogation of nuclear scientists Bashiruddin Mehmood and Hameed Chaudhry. “It would not be a fair conclusion that we are interested in these people for a specific thing,” he added.

In reply to a question whether the US had been providing technical help to the border security force of Pakistan, he replied in affirmative but had no details about the equipment given by the US.

Commenting on a statement by a Saudi prince that it was not Osama but some mysterious figure behind the Al Qaeda network, the spokesman said they were clear about what Osama was guilty of.

About a statement by interim interior Afghan minister Younus Qanooni that the role of peacekeeping force would be limited, Mr Keith said it was too early to say anything definitively about the role of peacekeepers. He said the United Nations had not yet called for peacekeeping force.

Referring to the capture of Tora Bora, he said advances had been made in that area but he could not say definitively whether the whole range had been brought under control by the opposition forces. “Obviously situation is still fluid and fighting continuing.”

Asked whether Al Qaeda members had offered talks for surrender to eastern commanders, the spokesman said he had heard no announcement but it would certainly be welcomed if such an offer was made.

In reply to a question about Osama’s association with the CIA during the war against Soviet Union, he said: “I do not think that Osama was not a card-carrying member of CIA.”

Regarding the American involvement in training and support of Mujahideen, he said they had no apologies to make about supporting war against Soviet Union.

He said it would be far too stretched to say that it was the fault of the US to train Osama and that Osama had turned against the US for furthering his political gains.

He ruled out any possibility of retaliation from Osama, saying he was on the run and had no means of communication.

About detention and interrogation of Pakistanis expatriates in the US, the spokesman confirmed that some Pakistanis had been detained but added that expatriates from many other countries too had been detained for violating some regulations.



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