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  • vermont_2435 vermont_2435 Oct 23, 2001 4:03 AM Flag


    Daily raps Powell for Kashmir remarks

    US Secretary of State Colin Powell has come in for sharp criticism in a leading daily for terming Kashmir as the core issue between New Delhi and Islamabad, which, it said, had alienated a powerful and increasingly important ally, India.

    The New York Post column also flayed Powell for trying to bolster the Musharraf regime and for saying that Taleban could be part of a future governing set-up in Afghanistan.

    Powell "gratuitously alienated our powerful and increasingly important Indian allies by saying that Kashmir was at the core of the tension in the region and that America was open to expanding military ties to Pakistan.

    "After all, while the legalities of the Kashmir could be debated endlessly... Pakistan has... actively sponsored terror groups in Kashmir, including some linked to (Osama) bin Laden's Al Qaeda," columnist Jonathan Foreman said.

    Powell, he said, could have hinted that if Pakistan didn't start being more cooperative and didn't stop backing Islamic terror against India then America might become so friendly that it gave New Delhi the full permission to do whatever necessary to resolve all its problems with Islamabad.

    Powell, the column said, should have told Pakistan that Washington now had "every reason to become much, much friendlier with its rival, India".

    "The message is clear: Pakistan's disastrous interference in Afghanistan is forgiven. Yet the truth is that we really don't need to be this nice to Pakistan."

    "India, after all, is a democratic, pluralistic and secular nation with which the US has much in common -- including being a victim of terrorism, rather than, like Pakistan, a consistent sponsor," Foreman said.

    In an attempt to bolster the Pakistani regime's inadequate support for US military operations in Afghanistan, Powell said some "ill-conceived and possibly dangerous" things to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, "the leader of the military junta in Islamabad" and pushed "our diplomacy in the wrong direction", it said.

    Terming his recent whirlwind south Asia visit as "unfortunate", the column said Powell, for all his virtues, might be the wrong man to be running the US foreign policy at this time.

    It strongly criticised Powell's remarks that the new government in Afghanistan include the "moderate" elements of Taleban whom it described as "the ultra-fundamentalist ruling militia that Pakistan sponsored, armed and continues to favour".

    This, Foreman said, comes as "we let down the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, declining to bomb Taleban forces near alliance troops -- again out of deference to Pakistani sensibilities".

    "Like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan has decided to become our ally only in a nominal sense, an 'ally' whose interests and actions are often hostile to our own. And its 'help' in this campaign, which doesn't include the use of key bases for military operations except for search and rescue, simply isn't worth this degree of compromise."

    All the US needs from Pakistan, the column said, was the use of its airspace and that was not something that Pakistan was in any position to deny.

    The State Department, it said, would often argue that Pakistan must be kept sweet because it had a small number of atom bombs -- "ones that might even work". And an alienated Pakistan could conceivably supply nuclear devices to its Islamic terrorist friends.

    "This is obviously a disturbing scenario. But if we really believed that the Pakistanis were inclined to do such a thing, we would have the right and obligation to destroy those weapons immediately and by any means we felt appropriate," the column said.

    It noted that it wouldn't be easy for Musharraf to take a stronger stand against the Taleban and for America, of course. "His country is a corrupt, impoverished and profoundly unstable hotbed of Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americ

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    • Probably Pakistan should be as the last night's interview on Larry King Live by Pakistani President paints a different picture about US involvement in Pakistan and Afghnistan and their shifting policies to suit their needs.

      He talked of American betrayl.

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