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U.S. lacks anti-terrorism plan in Pakistan report PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, 19 April 2008

REUTERS, WASHINGTON - The United States has failed to eliminate the terrorist threat in Pakistan's tribal areas and has no comprehensive plan to do so, U.S. government investigators said on Thursday.

Instead, Washington has relied on Pakistan's military to address U.S. national security goals since 2002, the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office said, adding that al Qaeda has now regrouped in the region called the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

"The United States has not met its national security goals to destroy terrorist threats and close the safe haven in Pakistan's FATA," the congressional investigations agency said in a report.

"No comprehensive plan for meeting U.S. national security goals in the FATA has been developed, as stipulated by the National Strategy for Combating Terrorism, recommended by the independent 9/11 Commission, and mandated by congressional legislation."

U.S. officials rejected the findings. The Pentagon said that while it supports development of a comprehensive plan, the U.S. government had a full strategy coordinated with the Pakistani government to target areas used by al Qaeda.

"To suggest we don't have a strategy is a mischaracterization," said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman. "It's a very dynamic situation and we have daily interactions."

But Democrats latched onto the report as evidence of a failed counterterrorism policy and called on the White House to refocus on the hunt for al Qaeda in Pakistan, where U.S. officials say Osama bin Laden is likely hiding.

"It is appalling that there is still no comprehensive, interagency strategy concerning this critical region, and this lack of foresight is harming U.S. national security," said Rep. Howard Berman, a California Democrat who chairs the House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs.
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