PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AP) - The Pakistan army said Saturday that it will withdraw hundreds of troops from a tribal region near Afghanistan where Osama bin Laden and his top deputy were believed to be hiding.
The withdrawals from the South Waziristan area come after military operations by thousands of troops against remnants of bin Laden's al-Qaida organization and its supporters in recent months.
The tribal region is considered a possible hiding place for bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. But a senior Pakistan general said earlier this month that forces have found no signs of bin Laden, who has been on the run since U.S. forces invaded Afghanistan in October 2001.
The army will remove checkpoints in Wana, the main town in South Waziristan, said Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, the top general in northwestern Pakistan. He said the moves are "in return for the support of tribesmen in operations against foreign miscreants."
Some troops will remain in the area, he said. "We have been assured by tribal elders that they will not allow miscreants to hide in areas under their control," Hussain said.
Sounds sort of bad news for the Bush Administration if it got reported the wrong way...I don't know, like truthfully?!
Not so fast with those inconvenient facts Mr. Snarky, Internet NASCAR-joke making, Cheetos-Eating, Non-pants wearing, Blogboy!
Pakistan has rejected reports it had withdrawn troops from a tribal area near the border with Afghanistan suspected to be a hideout for Al-Qaeda leaders, the US State Department said.
"Pakistani officials, both publicly and privately to us, have made clear that there has been no withdrawal from Waziristan and that they remain fully committed to continuing the campaign against Al-Qaeda and Al-Qaeda supporters," department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters on Monday.
According to a Pakistani military spokesman at the weekend, soldiers have been withdrawn from the streets of the main town in the troubled South Waziristan district after months of bloody offensives against Al-Qaeda-linked militants.
So there is confusion.
Do I believe the right-wing, militarist, war-mongering, jingoistic, cult-of-personality pushing government, or the right-wing, militarist, war-mongering, jingoistic, cult-of-personality pushing government?