Pakistan helped US in Afghan air strikes: Beg

ISLAMABAD (NNI, August 24,1998): Former Army Chief General Mirza Aslam Beg Sunday accused Nawaz Sharif government of assisting US missile attack in Afghanistan and disclosed that a day before attack he had personally warned the Afghan leaders about an imminent US attack.

"It is impossible to bomb specific targets without the cooperation of the incumbent Pakistani government," Beg told NNI in an exclusive interview rejecting government's statement that it had no role in US attack in Afghanistan. He said he had advised the "people in Kabul" not to communicate with Osama on wireless sets or phones" as the US satellites could easily track Osama's location by picking up the communication signals.

Beg currently heads Awami Qiyadat Party (AQP) which has formed an alliance with opposition parties outside the parliament.

Saying that the Cruise missiles fired from the American fleet in Arabian Sea violated Pakistan air space of 1200 kilometers, Beg described as unfortunate, what he said American spy-plane, P-3 Orion, flying over Pakistan and providing 'Mid-Course Guidance' to the Cruise Missiles.

"If Nawaz Sharif claims that his government had not allowed its soil for US strikes, they how the Toma Hawk missile were guided to hit the specific targets in Afghanistan's mountainous area," he questioned. The Toma Hawk missile, he said, has the range of 1600 kilometers and can carry conventional and nuclear warheads. One Cruise missile can drop about six bombs.

He disclosed that according to his information an American spying team was allowed to use Pakistani soil to identify Osama Bin Laden's bases and provide "Terminal Guidance" to American Cruise Missiles to reach their targets. He said members of the American spying team also visited the southern Afghan town of Khost to identify these targets.

The former Army Chief however said there was "a general impression" that President Clinton gave prior information to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif so that Pakistani leaders should not be disturbed by the operation to kill Osama.

He referred to the reports that Osama Bin Laden was planning to reach the bombed place for having dinner there "but by the grace of Allah Almighty he could not reach the camp."

Accusing the government of bartering national interests Aslam Beg pointed out that a minister had been telling the nation about an imminent 'good news'. "Now the rulers have taken a sigh of relief that they have strengthened their chair," he said.

He said the US administration has offered thanks to the rulers on Pakistan's cooperation. "The people at the helms of affairs should tell the nation as to what kind of assistance was extended to the United States which prompted President Clinton and State Department to thank Pakistan," he wondered.

Asked about his interview with a Pushto language newspaper one day before the American attack in which he predicted the attack, Aslam Beg said there were irrefutable indications that the Americans were planning to launch attack.

"I told some people in Kabul to be aware of the looming attack on Afghanistan. I apprised them of the American spying team and suggested them not to use wireless and other communication facilities with Osama Bin laden as it could be picked by the spies," he said.

He said that Chechan leader Ahmed Dawkhar Dedayev was killed in bombing after Russian traced his hideout while he was communicating with his colleague.

He said the Prime Minister, Foreign Office and ministers are now misleading the nation that they did not cooperate with the Americans in air strikes but he said now they can no more make fool the masses. "Time has come for the people to reject those politicians who believe in give and take while bartering national interests," he said.

h t t p : / / w w w . r a w a . o r g