The United States is “ready, willing and able” to deploy American combat troops in Pakistan for joint military operations in the country’s troubled border region, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday.
The public statement about an American intervention in Pakistan appeared aimed at pressuring the regime of President Pervez Musharraf into accepting a more direct US role in the suppression of internal opposition, which is linked to the growing resistance to the American-led occupation of neighboring Afghanistan.
According to media reports, the Bush administration has conducted extensive top-level discussions on the crisis in Pakistan and drawn up plans for a US intervention in the wake of last month’s assassination of Pakistan Peoples Party leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The administration reportedly sees the political crisis in the aftermath of the political killing as an opportunity to expand its influence in the country.
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