U.S. cagey on possible Pakistan strikes

March 28, 2009 at 9:58 AM

WASHINGTON, March 28 (UPI) -- Obama administration officials are being cagey about whether U.S. forces should directly engage terrorists operating in northwestern Pakistan, analysts said.

Richard Holbrooke, U.S. special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, declined Friday to say whether the United States would fight inside Pakistan to target Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders known to be based there, the Washington publication The Hill reported.

It would be "deeply injurious to our national interest to speculate" on that, Holbrooke said.

His comments came an hour after U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters that the United States was reserving the option of attacking terrorists within Pakistan, saying, "We will insist that action be taken -- one way or another -- when we have intelligence about high-level terrorist targets."

When asked if that meant the U.S. troops would hit targets in Pakistan, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs asserted, "I think it would be wise for us not to lay out for the world that plan of attack," adding that Americans could be "assured that the president is taking the steps necessary to address the threat and protect the American people," The Hill reported.

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