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Terrorism & Security

Pakistan Army will retaliate against U.S. attacks

The announcement comes at a time when the US is taking a more aggressive stance toward the rising insurgency along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

By David Montero / September 17, 2008

Further escalating a diplomatic row, Pakistan's Army says it will fire on US troops and drones that attempt to penetrate Pakistani territory in pursuit of the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The heightened tension drew Pentagon officials to Islamabad and Kabul to calm rattled nerves.

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"We reserve the right to retaliate for any aggression in self-defense and to protect our territory, civilians and soldiers," Major Murad Khan, a Pakistani military spokesman said, referring to US attacks on Pakistani soil, according to Bloomberg. The major added that "soldiers have instructions" to stop border violations.

That call was echoed by both Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani as well as the newly inaugurated president, Asif Ali Zadari. But both men urged a diplomatic solution, according to the Daily Times, a leading English-language daily in Pakistan.

"We do not jump to conclusions and will solve the issue through talks," said Mr. Gilani.

Moving quickly to de-escalate the flap, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, arrived on an unannounced visit to Islamabad on Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

The visit by the chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, came as an uproar continued to grow in Pakistan about the incursion on Sept. 3, which severely strained relations between the United States and Pakistan, its top Muslim ally in the war against terrorism. The visit also coincided with conflicting accounts about a possible second American raid on Monday....
A Pakistani military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, said the army reserved the right to use force to defend the country and its people, but he said there was "no change in policy."
Asked what the Pakistan military would do if there was a future incursion by American troops, he said: "There is a big if involved. We will see to it when such a situation arises."

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