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'Musharraf supporting terror by not giving access to AQ Khan'

Source: PTI
July 18, 2006 22:22 IST
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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf "provides aid and comfort to state sponsors of terrorists" who target the US by not allowing access to (disgraced nuclear scientist) A Q Khan, a former analyst with US Defence Department has said, while claiming that American officials knew about the disgraced top scientist's nuclear weapons activities "for three decades."

Noting that Musharraf pardoned Khan in 2004 "in effect with US support," F Michael Maloof, a former senior security policy analyst in defence secretary's office, said, "yet, the US reportedly cannot debrief Khan to do a threat assessment on the nuclear technologies and capabilities he provided to North Korea and Iran."

"By refusing access to Khan, Musharraf provides aid and comfort to state sponsors of terrorists targeting the US. Now North Korea threatens the US with nuclear war. Musharraf's shielding of Khan makes the Pakistani President an accomplice to the very terrorism he professes to oppose," he wrote in Tuesday's edition of The Washington Times newspapers.

He claimed US officials knew of Khan's "clandestine nuclear weapons activities for some three decades."

"Yet officials want the world to think his activities weren't confirmed until October 2003 when Italian authorities seized a German ship carrying 1,000 centrifuges destined for Libya."

The reasons for US giving Musharraf "a pass" on access to Khan despite the apparent damage he had done could be Washington's plans to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan as also because Central Intelligence Agency had worked with Pakistan intelligence agency Inter Services Intelligence to recruit fighters in Balkans, which in effect made America an ally with Osama bin Laden and Iran, he claimed.

"The Bush administration recently informed Congress it wants to sell 18 new F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan. During this entire period of trying to halt Khan's activities, the CIA worked with the Pakistani ISI to recruit the mujahedeen to fight against the Serbs in the Balkans. This was done with the full cooperation of the Pakistani government even before Musharraf became president," Maloof said in the article.

"Recruiting for the Balkans in effect made the US an ally with Osama bin Laden and Iran in the effort to defeat the Serbs in Bosnia, Kosovo and then Macedonia" and the CIA-ISI cooperation "continued even after bin Laden announced a Jihad, or holy war, against US in 1998," he claimed.

Pointing out that Khan assisted North Korea and Iran with their nuclear weapons development programmes, he said, "Today, these countries are in a position to provide nuclear technology to terrorists that threaten the US."

"A Q Khan has had a lot to do with linking the technical cooperation we see between North Korea and Iran not only in nuclear but also missile development. In fact, this cooperation strongly suggests the two countries may be coordinating their activities in raising any future international hate and discontent," Maloof claimed.

"At a minimum, US authorities need to know more out what capabilities Khan contributed to both countries. Congress also needs to explore what the CIA knew of Khan's efforts to provide nuclear know-how to North Korea, Iran and now the terrorists," he said.

Maloof said his office "frequently monitored efforts by Khan's worldwide network to divert technology to Pakistan's nuclear weapons development programme" but "our requests repeatedly fell on deaf ears."

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