Bush security adviser for direct action against al Qaeda in Pak
Tuesday 31st July, 2007
Washington, July 31 : A Security Advisory Council member of the Bush Administration has called for rooting out al Qaeda from Pakistan's tribal areas, if President Pervez Musharraf fails to check it.
"Further US military aid to Pakistan should be conditional on Pakistani action. And, we must be clear with General Musharraf that if Pakistan won't take out al Qaeda, the United States will," Lee Hamilton writes in an article published in several US newspapers.
"The US must make clear that our interests in Pakistan go beyond the rule of its President (Pervez Musharraf)," he said.
The article further says that Washington has an agreement with Islamabad that prevents it from going after alleged al Qaeda hideouts in Pakistan.
"For years, he (Musharraf) has captivated the US by presenting himself as a secular moderate in a region beset by religious extremists. But his actions have not matched his rhetoric," he wrote.
Hamilton asserted that Washington would not allow al Qaeda to retain a safe haven in Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, and it would not permit another terrorist attack on the US.
Pointing out that the US does not require to send its own troops to destroy al Qaeda hideouts in Pakistan, he said, "We have many tactical options that do not involve a substantial ground force: covert actions, special operations and air strikes, including unmanned aircraft.
"Before acting, we would have to be certain that our action was the only remaining option to eliminate the sanctuary," he wrote.
He dismissed the possibility of direct military action leading to the fall of the Pakistan Government.
"The reality is that his rule is endangered because of his own heavy-handed tactics, and his current behaviour has facilitated the growth of Islamic extremism," The Dawn quoted Hamilton, as saying.