US helping with Musharrafâs security
Short of providing American personnel to guard him, the United States is providing every assistance to ensure greater security for President Pervez Musharraf following two attempts on his life in less than two weeks. According to a front-page report in the Washington Post Saturday, based on interviews with a number of South Asia experts like Teresita Schaffer and Michael Krepon and unnamed American officials, the US is also urging the Pakistani President to crack down further on Islamic terrorism groups.
The report discloses, quoting officials, that it was the United States that sent electronic jamming devices that helped foil the first attempt on Gen Musharraf by interfering with the detonation of explosives. âSince the attacks, US officials have increased intelligence sharing and other efforts to help Musharrafâs security forces, although the United States is not providing bodyguards, a step taken to safeguard Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. FBI officials in Pakistan are helping to investigate the attacks on Musharraf,â according to the Post.
The report says if the Pakistani leader was to lose his life in an attack, US military and intelligence officials believe the Pakistani army would quickly move to appoint a successor, with the most likely candidate being the army vice chief of staff, Gen. Muhammad Yousaf Khan, âviewed by US officials as pro-American and likely to continue Musharrafâs prosecution of Al Qaeda.â This is a view with which Ms Schaffer concurs as she is quoted as saying, âMy assumption is the army will assert itself and shove the civilians into the backgroundâ if something happened to Gen Musharraf.
|The turbans always squeal like piggies when the starched shirt brigade shows up... |
One US official believes that the last attempt on the President was the work of Al Qaeda. The report states, âThe CIA dramatically increased its funding to and intelligence-sharing with many countries after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but nowhere was this joint cooperation more extensive than in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The CIA has urged Musharraf to take a harder approach toward extremist groups and has been routinely sharing intelligence with Pakistanâs security services about terrorist movements into the country,â experts said.
|Wonder if Qazi's thought that far ahead? |
Posted by: Fred Pruitt 2004-01-03