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Pakistan FM Criticizes Proposed US Defense Appointment


Pakistan's foreign minister has rejected the proposed appointment of the former U.S. commander of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as the top defense liaison to Pakistan. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from Islamabad the criticism comes as a U.S. newspaper reports the Pentagon has dropped the planned assignment of Army Major General Jay Hood.

The New York Times newspaper reported Friday that U.S. commanders abandoned plans to assign General Hood to Pakistan following widespread criticism of the proposed move in Pakistan.

The Pentagon had no immediate public comment on the story.

From 2004 to 2006, General Hood oversaw the controversial U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay that houses hundreds of terrorist suspects. Although some human rights activists credited him with improving conditions in the prison, his tenure was marked by widespread international criticism of the facility.

In Islamabad Friday, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government had asked for the appointment to be withdrawn.

Speaking before lawmakers in the Senate, he said Pakistan has genuine reservations about the Americans' decision to appoint the general.

He said "they are our partners, they are our allies and we understand each others' needs." But he said if the U.S. government rejected the request to cancel the appointment, Pakistan has options to stop General Hood and other people sharing his thinking from entering the country.

The New York Times reported General Hood is now being considered for a job in the headquarters of U.S. Central Command. Centcom oversees U.S. security interests in 25 countries in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia - including Pakistan.

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