Thursday, September 14, 2006

Bush's 'Newsdump' Friday Date

The White House officially announced today that President Bush would meet with his Pakistan and Afghanistan counterparts when they visit the United States to attend the U.N. general assembly later this month.

But it will be separate dates.

Bush's date with Karzai is scheduled for September 26, a Tuesday, while Musharraf will be dropping by the White House on a "newsdump" Friday, September 22.

According to the White House:

President Bush will welcome President Pervez Musharraf of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the White House on September 22, 2006. The two Presidents last met during President Bush's historic visit to Pakistan in March. The two leaders will review developments across the spectrum of our strategic partnership, including progress in bilateral cooperation in energy, education, science and technology, economic development, counterterrorism, and advancing freedom and democracy.

Perhaps the two can talk about this weird incongruity...

Remember the other day when Musharraf told the European Parliament that the Taliban were a larger threat than Al Qaeda because it "has its roots in the people?"

Color me confused after reading this article in The Telegraph called "US outraged as Pakistan frees Taliban fighters," written by Isambard Wilkinson:

Pakistan's credibility as a leading ally in the war on terrorism was called into question last night when it emerged that President Pervez Musharraf's government had authorised the release from jail of thousands of Taliban fighters caught fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan.

Five years after American-led coalition forces overthrew the Taliban during Operation Enduring Freedom, United States officials have been horrified to discover that thousands of foreign fighters detained by Pakistan after fleeing the battleground in Afghanistan have been quietly released and allowed to return to their home countries. Pakistani lawyers acting for the militants claim they have freed 2,500 foreigners who were originally held on suspicion of having links to al-Qa'eda or the Taliban over the past four years.

The mass release of the prisoners has provoked a stern rebuke to the Musharraf regime from the American government. "We have repeatedly warned Pakistan over arresting and then releasing suspects," said a US diplomat in Islamabad. "We are monitoring their response with great concern."

Um. I expect their response will be to deny, deny, deny.

The same response Musaharraf's military government gives to every "bad news" story. The same response that this one usually gives, too.

(Update: Milblogger Bill Roggio has scary details on some of the foreign fighters released by Pakistan)


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