WASHINGTON, Nov 1: The White House on Wednesday backed Islamabad’s claim that this week’s missile strikes on a seminary in Bajaur intended to kill Al Qaeda militants.
“This was intended against A Qaeda,” Press Secretary Tony Snow told a briefing at the White House. Commenting on civilian casualties, he said that the ‘US had also experienced in Afghanistan that Al Qaeda does everything it can to get the civilians killed in such operations.’
The White House spokesman praised President Pervez Musharraf’s contribution to the war on terror, saying that “he has shown courage and determination.”
Meanwhile, a State Department official told Dawn that he had not had any indication that the US had been involved ‘in any means’ in this military strike.
“We do generally have an intelligence coordination relationship with the government of Pakistan but (I am) not aware of any coordination on this particular strike,” he said.
“May be an exchange in the past contributed to it but there has been no US involvement in this particular attack,” he added.
The official said the government of Pakistan has informed the US that all those killed in the strike were militants and “we don’t have any other independent means of verifying that.”
Asked if the US would condemn the loss of life, the official said: “If there was a loss of innocent life, we certainly regret the loss of any innocent life.”
The official, when asked if he was worried about the consequences of the Bajaur strike, said: “We understand that the decision was rooted in Pakistan’s concerns about the way in which this facility was being used for training terrorists. Pakistan has been a consistent partner and we trust their judgment on these issues.”