Pak army ordered to hit back US forces

Press TV
Friday, Sept 12, 2008

The Pakistani Army has been given orders to retaliate against any unilateral strike by the Afghanistan-based US troops inside the country.

Army Spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas confirmed the orders in a brief interview with Geo News on late Thursday night.

The decision was made on the first day of the two-day meeting of Pakistan's top military commanders to discuss the US coalition's ground and air assault in Waziristan region which killed dozens of civilians.

Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired the meeting which began in Rawalpindi on Thursday at the Army General Headquarters.

Pakistan's military commanders expressed their determination to defend the country's borders without allowing any external forces to conduct operations inside the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan, sources said.

A senior official said the military commanders also discussed the implications of the American attacks inside Pakistan and took stock of the public feeling.

"In his statement, Genral Kayani has represented the feeling of the entire nation, as random attacks inside Pakistan have angered each and every Pakistani," he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, Kayani rebuffed the American policy of including Pakistani territory in their operations against the al-Qaeda and Taliban linked militants hiding in the areas near Afghan border.

Also, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani noted that Kayani's remarks on country's defense were true reflection of the government policy.

The army decision followed bloody incursions by the US ground troops into tribal belt as well as a string of missile strikes by CIA-operated drone aircraft.

The reaction also comes after US President George W. Bush approved US military raids on militants inside Pakistan without Islamabad's agreement.

The development also brought into the open the increasing mistrust between the Americans and the Pakistanis over how to handle the Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants in Pakistan's tribal areas.

Some political expert predict the break out of an all-out war between the United States troops and Pakistani army following the Bush administration's approval of ground and air assaults inside the country.

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