Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is lashing out at elements in Afghanistan's government he says are trying to lay all the blame on his country for failing to capture wanted al-Qaida terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
More than four years have passed since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States stunned Americans and grabbed world headlines. Although the mastermind behind the attacks, Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, has not been caught, he is believed to be hiding out in the mountainous region near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There have been frequent clashes on both sides of the border with suspected al-Qaida and Taleban militants.
During his trip to South Asia, where he stopped in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, President Bush noted both countries are involved in efforts to catch bin Laden.
"I am confident he will be brought to justice," said President Bush. "What is happening is that we have got U.S. forces on the hunt, not only for Bin Laden, but anyone who plots and plans with bin Laden. There are Afghan forces on the hunt for, not only bin Laden, but those who plot and plan with him. We have got Pakistan forces on the hunt."
As both Afghanistan and Pakistan work to strengthen their relationships with the United States, bin Laden's whereabouts and the efforts to find him can sometimes be a sensitive subject.
Recent media reports said Afghan intelligence agents believe bin Laden is in Pakistani territory. In an interview on CNN's Late Edition program, Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf alleged that there are elements in the Afghan government that intentionally try to make his country look bad.
"I am totally disappointed with their intelligence, and I feel there is a very, very deliberate attempt to malign Pakistan, by some agents," said Pervez Musharraf.
An animated President Musharraf suggested Afghan President Hamid Karzai is out of touch.
"President Karzai is totally oblivious of what is happening in his own country," he said. "So, therefore, I would say he should pull up his intelligence. He should pull up his Ministry of Defense."
Speaking on the same program, NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Jones said he is not aware of any new information regarding bin Laden's whereabouts, but noted President Bush's assurances during his visit to the region that the al-Qaida leader will eventually be captured.
"But I do agree with the president [Bush] that, if he [bin Laden] is still alive, there is reason to believe that we will eventually be successful," said James Jones.
General Jones said one of the most important factors in that success is good working relationships across both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border. More than 8,000 troops in NATO's International Security Assistance Forces are in Afghanistan, conducting peacekeeping and development operations.
Pakistani authorities said Sunday, dozens of militants were killed in clashes near the Afghan border.