World

Musharraf lets Taliban attack Canadian troops: security expert

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has refused to clamp down on pro-Taliban elements in his own country and is allowing the militants to launch attacks on Canadian troops, a security expert says.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharrafhas refused toclamp down on pro-Taliban elementsin his own country and is allowing the militantsto launch attacks on Canadian troops,a security expert says.

Canadian officers stationed in southern Afghanistan increasingly find young Pakistani men among the ranks of Taliban fighters who have trained in the radical mosques of Pakistan.

Following the Sept. 11 attacks, Musharraf was declared a key ally in the "war on terror."

But Sunil Ram, a former officer in the Canadian Forces who teaches at an American military university, saidMusharraf has reneged on a promise to shut down hundreds of extremist religious schools preaching hatred against the West.

Ram says that Pakistan is not willing to purge Taliban supportersfrom the Pakistani military and intelligence services, despite claims to the contrary.

"Why hasn't he shut down the madrassas [Islamic religious schools]? Why hasn't he sealed the border?"

"Ultimately the situation in Pakistan is feeding the situation in Afghanistan," Ram said.

Musharraf's admission

Ona visit to Kabul to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai last week, Musharraf admitted for the first time that the Talibanare using Pakistan as a base.

"There are al-Qaeda and Taliban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan," Musharraf said. "Clearly they are crossing from the Pakistan side and causing bomb blasts in Afghanistan.’"

But Musharraf denied that his government or his intelligence agency support the incursions.

Musharraf said he's put 75,000 troops on the border to stop the flow of arms and recruits,but insistsit's impossible to seal the border.

Ram said it's a question of priorities.

"It can be done … he has a half million troops on the border with Indian Kashmir," he said.

Switched sides

Pakistan was a strong supporter of Afghanistan's former Taliban regime, but switched sides after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Since then, Islamabad has arrested more than 700 al-Qaeda suspects, including some close associates of Osama bin Laden.

Some Afghan and U.S. officials think top al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders like bin Laden are hiding either in Pakistan or near the Pakistan-Afghan border.

With files from the Associated Press