WASHINGTON, Sept 8: John Edwards, another Democratic presidential candidate, has said he would send US troops into Pakistan to target ‘extremist hideouts’ if Islamabad refused to respond to reliable intelligence.
“I want to be clear about one thing. If we have actionable intelligence about imminent terrorist activity and the Pakistan government refuses to act, we will,” Mr Edwards said at a campaign rally on Friday.
He blamed the Bush administration for not doing enough to force Pakistan to shut down ‘terror camps’ inside its territories. The 2004 vice-presidential candidate, now running for president, said: “We ought to use our tremendous tools — diplomacy, arm sales, trade, foreign aid — to get states to shut down ‘terror cells’.”
He also referred to a recent report by 16 US intelligence agencies claiming that Al Qaeda had established a ‘safe haven’ inside Pakistan’s tribal areas.
“We have given the Musharraf government billions of dollars of aid in last several years, yet they have done little to get control over these areas,” he said.
Mr Edwards also said that future US aid to Pakistan should be linked to the country’s performance in the war on terror.