The US Central Intelligence Agency paid Pakistan millions of dollars for handing over more than 350 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists to the United States, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has reportedly said.
The assertions come in the military ruler's upcoming memoir "In the Line of Fire," serialized in The Times newspaper.
The US Central Intelligence Agency paid Pakistan millions of dollars for handing over more than 350 suspected al-Qaeda terrorists to the United States, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, seen here on 22 September 2006, has reportedly said.(AFP/File/Mandel Ngan)
Musharraf does not reveal how much Pakistan was paid for the 369 Al-Qaeda suspects he ordered should be handed over to the United States, the newspaper said, noting, however, that such payments are banned by the US government.
The newspaper does not, however, print or quote the excerpts which make the allegations.
In response a US Department of Justice official was quoted as saying: "We didn't know about this. It should not happen. These bounty payments are for private individuals who help to trace terrorists on the FBI's most wanted list, not foreign governments."
The Pakistani's leader's claims come after he said last week that former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage had threatened to bomb Pakistan if it did not back the United States in the so-called "war on terror" in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, described by Musharraf as "what has to be the most undiplomatic statement ever made."
"Our relationships with international leaders is not something we are prepared to talk about," a CIA official told The Times.
Musharraf also writes that he was so angered by American demands in the wake of the September 11 attacks, which he calls "ludicrous," that he "war-gamed the United States as an adversary."
"There would be a violent and angry reaction if we didn't support the United States," an excerpt from his book reads.
"The question was: if we do not join them, can we confront them and withstand the onslaught? The answer was no."
He said that two days after the attacks, the US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain brought to him a set of seven demands including "blanket overflight and landing rights" and "use of Pakistan's naval ports, air bases, and strategic locations on borders."
Musharraf said Pakistan gave no "blanket permission" for anything.
The military leader also says that he decided to make the revelations to counter claims that Pakistan had not done enough to combat Al-Qaeda in the war on terror.
Copyright © 2006 Agence France Presse