Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pakistan Leader in Talks with Blair

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Pakistan Leader in Talks with Blair

Article excerpt

Byline: KEITH DOVKANTS

PAKISTAN'S President General Pervez Musharraf will meet Tony Blair in Downing Street today to express his dismay over the way America is prosecuting the war against Afghanistan.

President Musharraf has been unsettled by what appears to be an American plan to use the rebel Northern Alliance to split Afghanistan in two.

The strategy involves driving the Taliban out of the northern provinces into southern strongholds. The northern entity, defended by air power and ground troops from neighbouring Uzbekistan, would be separated from Taliban territory by an east-west line. Crucial to the plan is vast resources of aid which is believed could help to counter opposition from the civilian Afghan population to American intervention.

President Musharraf has been pressingthe Americans to reveal their war aims amid complaints it is keeping its strategy secret. On his way to London, President Musharraf stopped in Istanbul to make public his opposition to splitting Afghanistan. Even if partition works, it is said in Pakistan, it will not be feasible to launch a viable political initiative from whatever entity is created. …

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