- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2001

The United States briefed Pakistan on its investigation into last month's terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, but the government in Islamabad said afterward that it had not seen direct evidence linking the strikes to Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network.

The U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlain, met with President Pervez Musharraf and "shared with him some of the information that we've been developing," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.

Mr. Boucher and Pakistan's Foreign Ministry refused to give details of evidence linking bin Laden to the attacks.

But ministry spokesman Riaz Mohammad Khan, following the meeting between Gen. Musharraf and Mrs. Chamberlain, said:

"We have yet to receive any detailed evidence with regard to the persons responsible for the horrendous acts of Sept. 11 and their linkages with al Qaeda or Osama bin Laden."

He also said Islamabad had not seen any U.S. plan for military action in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has promised to share intelligence with the United States, allow use of its airspace and provide logistic support.

Washington is preparing a military operation against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban militia for harboring bin Laden and refusing to surrender him.

Pakistan, which shares a 1,500-mile border with Afghanistan, is the only state that maintains diplomatic relations with the Taliban.

"This is going to be an ongoing process of sharing information and discussion with the government of Pakistan, and we are continuing our consultations with Pakistan on how best to wage the campaign against terrorism and how we can move forward together," Mr. Boucher said.

He said the Bush administration has instructed U.S. ambassadors in "like-minded nations" to brief their host governments on what the United States has learned about al Qaeda and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"The fact that we are sharing this information with other governments at this point does not indicate any particular decisions about our response options," Mr. Boucher said.

"Clearly, when one looks at the pattern of activity of al Qaeda in past attacks and the kind of attack that this was, there is a similarity. There are also elements that tie al Qaeda to this specific act."

The United States also blames al Qaeda and bin Laden for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in East Africa, as well as the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen last October.

In addition to Pakistan and its European allies, Washington is briefing countries in the Far East, the Middle East, and South and Central Asia, Mr. Boucher said.

He said the administration had no immediate plans to release publicly what it told foreign governments but planned to publish part of the information at some point.

"It would be a significant amount of information, but obviously, it's only a portion of all the information that we and others have been able to amass, because a lot of the things we know, we are not able to share," he said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide