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O'Connor wants Canadian troops in Pakistan- Defence Minister raises an explosive issue in Islamabad
The Globe and Mail ^ | 02 Sep 2006 | GRAEME SMITH

Posted on 09/03/2006 12:26:42 AM PDT by Marius3188

KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN -- Canadian soldiers should join local forces fighting Taliban insurgents inside Pakistan, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor says, making a tentative first attempt at raising the explosive issue of foreign troops trespassing on Pakistani territory.

Mr. O'Connor held meetings with several military and intelligence officials in Islamabad yesterday in which he urged his counterparts to step up their actions against the insurgents who emerge from hideouts in Pakistan to attack Canadian troops in southern Afghanistan.

"Among other things, I suggested that some Pakistan officers be stationed with our troops in Kandahar and Canadian troops be stationed on the Pakistan side," Mr. O'Connor said afterward, in an interview with Associated Press of Pakistan. "This will assist in information gathering and intelligence sharing on both sides of the border."

Such a proposal would likely anger Islamic political parties in Pakistan that have vocally resisted the presence of U.S. troops on Pakistani soil. Public outrage followed a December, 2002, incident in which a U.S. plane dropped a 225-kilogram bomb on a Pakistani border outpost after American troops came under fire from a Pakistani patrol.

Since then, Islamabad has officially denied that U.S. forces are allowed on its territory. But a 2003 congressional report said that Pakistan has quietly allowed the United States to conduct "limited, low-profile pursuits" of al-Qaeda and Taliban suspects.

Even the unmanned Predator drones that sweep over the Pakistani tribal areas require lengthy approvals from the Pakistani military, according to The New York Times.

A NATO source confirmed last night that a U.S.-Pakistan bilateral agreement allows cross-border pursuits, and expressed hope that Canada might win similar permission.

Mr. O'Connor gave no indication about the Pakistani reaction to his request.

A Pakistani source indicated earlier in the week that Mr. O'Connor would face questions from his hosts about whether Canada might help Pakistan obtain civilian nuclear co-operation. Questioned repeatedly about the issue by local media yesterday, Mr. O'Connor declined to comment.

"I am the Defence Minister and I'll answer questions on defence," he said. "The nuclear issue is a political one and should be directed to the Foreign Minister."

Some NATO countries have recently criticized Pakistan for allowing Taliban insurgents safe harbour within its borders, while others -- most prominently the United States -- have defended Pakistan as an ally in the fight against terrorism.

In Islamabad yesterday, Mr. O'Connor offered a mixed view of Pakistan's role. "I really appreciate what Pakistan is doing and they are doing a fantastic job," he said. "But in my ideal world, they could do even better because that way our troops will be safe."

He added: "The two governments have to co-operate as much as possible; they have to exchange information. . . . The more the governments co-operate, it makes the situation better."

Canada already has an exchange program between Canadian and Pakistani military colleges, Mr. O'Connor said. He suggested more frequent meetings between military officials from the two countries.

The minister's meetings yesterday included talks with Habibullah Warraich, Pakistan's Minister for Defence Production. He suggested that Canada might be able to assist Mr. Warraich's department, although he did not specify how.

Mr. O'Connor's program also included a sightseeing visit to Daman-e-Koh, a park on a hill overlooking Pakistan's capital city.

Meanwhile yesterday, an insurgent attack killed one British soldier and seriously wounded another in the latest fighting in southern Afghanistan, while suspected Taliban gunmen ambushed and shot dead a district chief, officials said.

TOPICS: Canada; Foreign Affairs; Miscellaneous; Unclassified; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: canada; canadian; defenceminister; oconnor; pakistan; taliban; troops; wot
Canadians, I don't know that much about Mr. O'Connor, how is he percieved in Canada, and what is your impression of him as Defence Minister?

He seems to have some ideas, however I don't know how much he can do within the body politics of Canada.


1 posted on 09/03/2006 12:26:44 AM PDT by Marius3188
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To: Marius3188; Alberta's Child; albertabound; AntiKev; backhoe; Byron_the_Aussie; Cannoneer No. 4; ...


2 posted on 09/03/2006 2:54:35 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Marius3188
O'Connor is a retired Brigadier General.

One of his latest assignments before retirement was planning changes in the force structure of the Canadian Forces.

3 posted on 09/03/2006 3:00:49 AM PDT by Clive
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To: Clive; GMMAC; Pikamax; Former Proud Canadian; Great Dane; Alberta's Child; headsonpikes; Ryle; ...
Canada ping.

Please send me a FReepmail to get on or off this Canada ping list.

4 posted on 09/03/2006 5:26:25 AM PDT by fanfan
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To: Marius3188
I hope O'Connor pulls this off. He has put the ball right into the Paki's Court and if they refuse, then according to International law, Canadian Forces can engage cross border "hot pursuit" of these Islamofascists who train and operate out of Quetta. Iran is likely funding these fascists.
5 posted on 09/03/2006 10:37:46 PM PDT by Candor7 (Into Liberal flatulance goes the best hope of the West, and who wants to be a smart feller?)
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