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US: Islamabad May Soon Attack al-Qaida in Pakistan

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld indicates Pakistan may be poised to take military action against al-Qaida and Taleban fighters hiding in the country's volatile tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

Mr. Rumsfeld says the United States remains pleased with the level of cooperation shown by Pakistan in the war on terrorism. But speaking to reporters after a meeting with Indonesia's visiting defense minister, Mr. Rumsfeld acknowledged Pakistani authorities had to deal with certain sensitivities in considering military action in so-called tribal areas near the border with Afghanistan.

He says it is a problem Pakistan's government is dealing with. "They are currently working out ways that they can deal with the tribal organizations, so that, in fact, pockets of al-Qaida or Taleban can be routed out," he said.

Mr. Rumsfeld's comments follow a Washington Post newspaper report that U.S. intelligence analysts have concluded the major remaining concentrations of al-Qaida fighters are in western Pakistan.

The newspaper went on to claim that American officials have pressed Pakistan to take action against the suspected terrorists, but that Pakistani authorities were reluctant.

Meanwhile, U.S. forces in Afghanistan have raided a suspected al-Qaida or Taleban compound north of Kandahar.

A spokesman says the American troops killed five men and captured 32 others in the incident.

Mr. Rumsfeld says weapons were also seized in the raid.