Qaeda not plotting attacks from Tribal Areas: Pakistan
* 14-Div GOC says no Pashtun is terrorist
* Militants used school to train bombers
By Iqbal Khattak
SPEENKAY RAGHZAI: Islamabad “disagreed” on Sunday with the United States intelligence assessment that Al Qaeda is using Pakistan’s Tribal Areas to plot attacks on the US as ‘Operation Zalzala’ continues in South Waziristan.
“No Pashtun is a terrorist,” 14 Division GOC Maj-Gen Tariq Khan told journalists while showing them the forward positions of the army in a former stronghold of Baitullah Mehsud. He also disagreed with the US allegation that the Pakistan Army was being lenient with Al Qaeda and the Taliban. “I would disagree with the US claims of [us] being soft on militants.”
School and hospital: Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban militants used a government-run school as a training centre for suicide bombing and a hospital to make bombs and improvised explosive devices in South Waziristan, the GOC said.
However, Gen Tariq said the international press had “overrated” Baitullah Mehsud. Geo News quoted Gen Khan as saying that the army had not withdrawn from South Waziristan but the troops’ positions were being changed to facilitate the displaced residents’ return.
The civil administration of South Waziristan and military authorities are also formulating a mechanism to ensure militants do not return to their former strongholds.