By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 7, 2007
Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John Negroponte will travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan starting September 10 to consult with key allies in the war against terror. The trip will last at least one week, we were told at the State Department.
Mr. Negroponte, the former director of all U.S. intelligence activities, is the deputy to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. He will hold talks with Pakistan’s military leader President General Pervez Musharraf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and representatives of Pakistan’s civil society including Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) during his visit to Islamabad.
Mr. Musharraf’s future remains uncertain. Media reports have said he is engaged in a power sharing negotiation with former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The Prime Minister that Musharraf deposed in a coup in 1999, Mr. Nawaz Sharif, said he planned to return to Pakistan from exile on September 10. Pakistan’s supreme court has ruled that Mr. Sharif’s continued exhile is unnecessary and illegal.
Both of Pakistan’s former P.M.s have wide support in different areas of Pakistan. But it is Mr. Musharraf who commands the most loyalty from Pakistan’s military.
Earlier this week, militant Islamic insurgents staged a terror bombing in the home of Pakistan’s military, Rawalpindi. Mr. Mussaraf himself lives in Rawalpindi.
A U.S. Department of State press release says Mr. Negraponte will discuss counter-terrorism, education, science and technology, and expansion of economic opportunities while in Pakistan.
In Afghanistan, the Deputy Secretary of State will meet with President Hamid Karzai.
Mr. Kharzai has been critical of Pakistan for not rooting out what he says is a nest of protected terrorists in the tribal areas between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Mr. Kharzai has sometimes said that Pakistan harbors the Taliban, al Qaeda, and perhaps even Osama bin Laden.
Our friend in the tribal areas, journalist Mr. Muhammad Khurshid, has sources that verify Mr. Kharzai’s claims.
U.S. Frustrated by bin Laden, Musharraf in Pakistan Tribal Areas