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US, Pakistani Forces Raid Suspected al-Qaida Hideouts

A top U.S. military official indicates there was American involvement in a series of raids in Pakistan this week on suspected al-Qaida terrorist hide-outs.

The raids led to the detention of some 40 persons, mainly Arabs and other foreigners, at suspected al-Qaida hide-outs in eastern Punjab province.

Army four-star General Tommy Franks indicates U.S. law enforcement or intelligence agents may have been involved. "I think that there was cooperation between assets of our government and assets of President Musharaf's government and I suspect in the days and weeks ahead the full construct of that will come out but I don't think it would be appropriate for me to talk about those other agencies or in fact the Pakistanis," he said.

General Franks was responding to questions from reporters at the Pentagon about the possibility of U.S. troops crossing into Pakistan from Afghanistan to pursue terrorists.

He says there are close ties and good cooperation between the United States and Pakistan. He says joint military operations are possible but he has not asked to conduct any up to this point.

"The relationship we have with Pakistan has not foreclosed the possibility of anything. We have not up to this point asked to be able to conduct joint operations," he said.

General Franks is also disputing reports from some Afghan sources who have contended that as many as several thousand al-Qaida and Taleban fighters may have been able to flee into Pakistan during the recent U.S.-led sweep of eastern Afghanistan.

He says there are not thousands of terrorists regrouping in Pakistan or anywhere else. He says some small groups may have escaped but calls it unfeasible that large numbers managed to flee.