Pak `won`t accept any foreign troops’ on its soil

Pak notes that mandate of NATO, ISAF troops is "restricted to Afghanistan".

Last Updated: Dec 24, 2010, 10:01 AM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday made it clear that it would not allow US or other foreign troops to conduct operations on its soil, saying such a move would amount to crossing the "red lines" set by the country for cooperating in the war against terrorism.

"We have made our position very clear and the US knows our position and our red lines. We do not expect the US to complicate matters involving counter-terrorism," Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit told a weekly news briefing.

Noting that the mandate of NATO and International Security Assistance Force troops is "restricted to Afghanistan and our security forces are capable of taking action against militants", Basit said: "Given this, we would not accept any foreign troops on our soil."

The spokesman was responding to a question on media reports that the US-led forces in Afghanistan planned to expand their operations across the border to Pakistan.

Basit said Pakistan is committed against terrorism and extremism and has been "carrying out operations wherever required".

He added that Pakistan already had troops in North Waziristan and the "scope and timing" of any operation in the region would be determined by "us and us alone".

In recent months, the US has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to move troops into North Waziristan Agency, considered a safe haven for Taliban and al Qaeda elements.

Responding to another question on US reservations about civil nuclear cooperation between China and Pakistan, Basit said this collaboration is for "peaceful purposes and in accordance with our respective international obligations and under IAEA safeguards".

"So any reservation or objection to this cooperation is unwarranted," he said.

Accusing the US of adopting "double standards" for civil nuclear cooperation with India and Pakistan, Basit said Islamabad wanted the adoption of a "criteria-based approach rather than creating unhelpful exceptions".

PTI