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Pak angry over being dubbed Al-Qaeda hub

It says that it had done more than any other country in the world for breaking the back of the global terror network.

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 20:49 IST

Pakistan on Friday, angrily hit out at the United States that dubbed it as a hub of the Al-Qaeda, saying that it had done more than any other country in the world in breaking the back of the global terror network.

John Negroponte, the chief of US intelligence, told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence that the United States has for the first time identified Pakistan as the hub of a worldwide web of Al-Qaeda connections while asserting that India, which has been a major target for jehadis due to the insurgency in Kashmir, would remain a reliable ally against global terrorism.

A spokesperson for the foreign ministry, when asked to comment on Negroponte's testimony, said Pakistan's fight against terror was appreciated by the international community, including the US leadership.

"This (Pakistan's role) has been appreciated by the international community including the US leadership. It is also a fact that there are Al Qaeda elements active in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, as Mr. Negroponte has said but it would be incorrect to link them to any remnants of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan," a foreign ministry statement said.

The spokesperson went on to add that Pakistan continues to pursue these remnants as well as other terrorists and extremist elements.

"We are addressing this challenge first and foremost in the interest of our security and peace and development of our society. As part of international coalition against terrorism, our efforts are also helping the international community to counter this grave danger."

"When Mr Negroponte mentions the capture and killing of hundreds of Al-Qaeda members since 9/11, he should acknowledge the efforts of the country that made this possible."

The foreign ministry pointed out that Pakistan remained committed to fighting international terrorism and extremism and in this endeavour, the focus must always remain on cooperation instead of questionable criticism.

"In this context, we have noted the positive statement by head of International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) on Wednesday that Pakistan's help has been crucial in containing insurgency in Afghanistan and ISAF has been the beneficiary of strong actions taken by Pakistan.

Pakistan was singled out for the first time in a Congressional testimony as the centre of the network accused of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people.

"They are cultivating stronger operational connections and relationships that radiate outward from their leaders' secure hideout in Pakistan to affiliates throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Europe," Negroponte said in his annual assessment of worldwide threats against the US and its interests.