From the archive, originally posted by: [ spaceandsound ]

Loose Change

In Britain, Musharraf Is Questioned on Terror Ties
By ALAN COWELL / September 29, 2006

LONDON, Sept. 28 ā€” President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan arrived here
on Thursday and found himself facing accusations that his country’s
intelligence service had indirect ties to Al Qaeda and that his
government committed widespread human rights abuses as an ally of the
United States in its effort to curb terrorism.

He arrived after a rocky visit in Washington, where President Bush
used a White House dinner to try to mediate between the Pakistani
leader and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan over their mutual
accusations of responsibility for the resurgence of the Taliban,
Afghanistan’s former rulers.

Although the two leaders did not shake hands in public, General
Musharraf indicated in remarks broadcast live on Pakistani television
on Thursday that some tensions had eased. “The meeting that I held
with President Bush and Hamid Karzai last night was very good,” he
said, according to The Associated Press. “It was decided that we
should have a common strategy. We have to fight terrorism. We have to
defeat it, defeat it jointly.”

A report of a leaked document, which said that Pakistan’s intelligence
service indirectly supported the Taliban, played into the argument
over the growing insurgency in Afghanistan, where Britain and the
United States have sent forces. The document was said by the BBC to
have originated in Britain’s Defense Academy, a research agency
sponsored by the Ministry of Defense.

Separately, Amnesty International, the human rights group, accused
Pakistan of abuses, including the torture of terrorism suspects and
the illegal transfer of detainees to the United States.

Britain’s Defense Ministry did not challenge the authenticity of the
leaked document, but it said that the paper did not represent official
policy and was part of academic research. The document, details of
which were broadcast Wednesday night on BBC television, was quoted as
saying that indirectly, Pakistan, through the security agency, “has
been supporting terrorism and extremism, whether in London on 7/7,”
the date when suicide bombers attacked three subway trains and a
double-decker bus last year, “or in Afghanistan or Iraq.” It said
Pakistan’s security services played a “dual role,” combating terrorism
while at the same time promoting an Islamic coalition called Mutahida
Majlis-e-Amal “and so indirectly supporting the Taliban.”

“Pakistan is not currently stable but on the edge of chaos,” the
document said, urging the dismantling of the security service. Echoing
a recent American intelligence assessment, parts of which were
declassified this week, it also said the war in Iraq “has served to
radicalize an already disillusioned youth, and Al Qaeda has given them
the will, intent, purpose and ideology to act.”

Before he arrived in London, General Musharraf took strong exception
to the leaked document. The security agency, he said, “is a
disciplined force, breaking the back of Al Qaeda,” he told the BBC. He
is to deliver a speech in Oxford on Friday after meeting Thursday
evening with Mr. Blair at Chequers, the British prime minister’s
country retreat, west of London.

After the two-hour meeting, Mr. Blair’s spokesman said the prime
minister had assured General Musharraf that the leaked document did
not represent official British policy.

In its report released late Thursday, Amnesty International said
Pakistan had “committed numerous human rights violations as a result
of its cooperation in the U.S.-led ‘war on terror.’ ”

“Hundreds of people have been arbitrarily detained,” it said.

In response to the report, a Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokeswoman,
Tasneem Aslam, said, “As far as detentions go, yes, people have been
detained, but we have a challenge, we have to weigh the costs.”

“It’s a tough call not only for Pakistan, but for all countries
fighting terrorism,” she said. “It is a challenge to strike a balance;
while we respect individual rights, we have to prevent terrorist

{Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.}