- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Pakistan came under pressure yesterday to cooperate with the United States in identifying and punishing terrorists responsible for Tuesday's attacks in Washington and New York, even if the trail leads to its ally, Afghanistan.
"We thought … it would be useful to point out to the Pakistani leadership, at every level, that we are looking for and expecting their fullest cooperation and their help and support," said Secretary of State Colin L. Powell.
Afghanistan plays host and protector to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi billionaire thought to be responsible for terrorist bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998 and Tuesday's attacks that damaged the Pentagon and destroyed the World Trade Center.
Pakistan is one of three countries, along with Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, to recognize Afghanistan's Taliban regime.
Maleeha Lodhi, the Pakistani ambassador to the United States, was called yesterday to the State Department, where she met with Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.
Mr. Powell said the meeting was held to "share views." He said the United States wants to know "how helpful [Pakistan] might be" if the United States identifies the perpetrators and decides to "act upon that information."
After returning from the State Department, Mrs. Lodhi conveyed the "gravity" of the situation to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, said a Pakistan Embassy official. Gen. Musharraf immediately went into late-night meetings with his national security advisers and emerged with a statement.
"Pakistan has been extending cooperation to international efforts to combat terrorism in the past and will continue to do so. All countries must join hands in this common cause," he said. "I wish to assure President Bush and the U.S. government of our unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism."
Despite news reports to the contrary, the State Department said yesterday it had not sent a "message" to the Taliban through Pakistani officials.
Mr. Powell said the U.S. ambassador to Pakistan, Wendy Chamberlin, is scheduled to meet with Gen. Musharraf today.
Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said yesterday that Pakistan is under special scrutiny.
"Pakistan in particular is going to have to make some difficult choices very soon," he said in an address to the Senate yesterday. "We are counting, and we are looking. Words will not be sufficient. Actions will be demanded."
Despite numerous denials, Pakistan is widely believed to give official and military support to the radical Islamic regime in Kabul.
"Pakistan's diplomatic influence over the Taliban is diminished," said Asad Hayauddin, Pakistan's press counselor. "Other than diplomatic recognition, I do not see where we support them."
Analysts on the region disagreed.
"Pakistan is deeply embedded and involved with the Taliban," said Stephen Cohen, South Asia specialist at the Brookings Institution. "If, and it is a big if, it is Osama bin Laden, then Pakistan has to decide 'which side you are on?' You are either part of the problem or part of the solution. You cannot be both."
After the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, which killed 224 persons, President Clinton ordered a cruise-missile strike on Afghanistan in an apparent effort to kill bin Laden and destroy his organization.
Although notified of the strike, Pakistan protested because the cruise missiles violated its airspace on the way to striking Afghanistan. Bin Laden survived.
India's foreign minister, Jaswant Singh, yesterday reiterated the charge that Pakistan backs the Taliban, which in turn backs terrorists.
"For many years, we had known what Pakistan is doing the spread of the Taliban, and the training camps which were the centers of training of terrorists. The whole world knew that these camps had been training terrorists not only from Pakistan and Afghanistan, but also from diverse parts of the world. These were facts," he said.
Mr. Cohen said other countries may be supporting bin Laden or may have "looked the other way."
"I think we can expect to find an operation where the funding came from one place, the people from another, there was training in a third country and other countries allowing transit," he said.


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