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Pakistan stressses loss against al-Qaida

June 23, 2004 at 1:23 PM

WASHINGTON, June 23 (UPI) -- Pakistan said Tuesday its soldiers are sacrificing their lives and in the fight against al-Qaida.

In a letter to the chairman of the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Pakistan's ambassador to the United States, Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, said President Pervez Musharraf also has risked his personal safety in the fight against the terror network.

In the letter, he rejected allegations Pakistan's support to the Taliban regime enabled al-Qaida to establish itself in Afghanistan and plan terrorist attacks in the United States.

"It's particularly disappointing to read these allegations at a time when Pakistani soldiers are sacrificing their lives and President Musharraf had risked his personal safety in the fight against al-Qaeda, Taliban and other extremist elements," Qazi said.

Recent media reports quoting members of the bipartisan commission said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan allowed al-Qaida to prosper and spread its tentacles by supporting Afghanistan's former Taliban rulers. The reports also blamed the two Muslim countries for providing weapons and financial assistance to the Taliban.

Saudi Arabia also has denied the reports and earlier this week U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher downplayed the allegations, saying that both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia were strong U.S. allies in the war against terror.

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