Blair, Musharraf patch up over UK report
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Blair, Musharraf patch up over UK report

A leaked British intelligence report had said that Pakistan's ISI was supporting Al-Qaeda and Taliban in Afghanistan.

india Updated: Sep 29, 2006 13:46 IST

British Prime Minister Tony Blair moved to patch up a potential diplomatic row with Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, after a leaked British report said Pakistan's intelligence service supported Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

During two hours of private talks at Blair's official residence at Chequers, outside London, Musharraf accepted an assurance that the report by the Defence Academy - a think tank of Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) - did not represent government policy.

A spokesperson for Blair said on Thursday that Musharraf had in turn assured Blair that he was determined to deal with the Taliban and reduce cross-border activity into neighbouring Afghanistan.

Earlier, Musharraf had angrily denounced the Defence Academy report, insisting the allegations were being made by people who did not understand "ground realities."

The MoD issued a statement denying that the "academic research notes" quoted by the programme in any way represented the views of either the MoD or the government.

The Defence Academy report alleges that ISI, the Pakistani intelligence service, is supporting terrorism by secretly backing a coalition of religious parties in Pakistan.

"Indirectly Pakistan, through the ISI, has been supporting terrorism and extremism whether in London on 7/7 or in Afghanistan or Iraq," the document said.

The paper is believed to have been written by a British intelligence official with a military background, who interviewed figures in the Pakistan Army and academics to prepare a briefing about the Islamic country and the global war on terrorism.

The British policy of supporting President Musharraf because he provides greater stability for the region is flawed because Pakistan is "on the edge of chaos," the document said.

Musharraf's visit to Britain follows a joint meeting with US President George Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Washington on Wednesday night.

The two Asian leaders have been engaged in a public spat over the last few days, trading blame for the increasing strength of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Earlier Thursday, Musharraf insisted Osama bin Laden is alive and hiding in eastern Afghanistan, rejecting a French intelligence report that the Al-Qaeda leader had died of typhoid, in a published interview with the London Times.

First Published: Sep 29, 2006 12:21 IST