Pakistan vows to help U.S. 'punish' attackers
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has promised full cooperation with the United States in its fight against terrorism following the attacks on Washington and New York City.
Musharraf talked with U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell on Thursday, also meeting face-to-face with U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin along with the ambassadors of Germany, Singapore, Poland and Brunei.
On Thursday afternoon, the Pakistani government released a statement to CNN which read: "Pakistan is committing all of its resources in an effort coordinated with the United States to locate and punish those involved in these horrific acts."
Musharraf's stand is seen as increasingly important as the Bush administration works to build international consensus against the perpetrators of the attacks and possible military retaliation.
Pakistan is one of the few countries to have formal relations with the ruling Taliban regime in Afghanistan -- the others are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Government sources said Powell presented a specific list to Musharraf of what the United States wants from the Pakistani government, adding the Pakistani response was favorable.
Chamberlin reiterated this sentiment after her meeting with Musharraf earlier in the day.
"The president made a very strong statement that he was with us," a smiling Chamberlin said after meeting with the Pakistani president.
"It was positive. It was strong. He repeated several times during the meeting that he was with us."
Pakistan support important
Musharraf on Wednesday said the "carnage" in the United States had raised the struggle against terrorism "to a new level".
"We regard terrorism as an evil that threatens the world community. All countries must join hands in this common cause," Musharraf said.
"I wish to assure President Bush and the U.S. government of our unstinted cooperation in the fight against terrorism."
For several years the Taliban have been giving asylum to exiled Saudi millionaire Osama bin Laden, the man fingered by intelligence officials as the prime suspect in Tuesday's terrorist attacks.
U.S. government sources have said they are "confident" the evidence in the case will lead to bin Laden who has declared jihad, or holy war, against the U.S.
In a Tuesday night address to the nation, President Bush said, "We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them."
Bin Laden, who heads the shadowy Al Qaeda group, was already on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list after being indicted on suspicion of masterminding the 1998 embassy bombings in Africa and several other attacks on U.S. targets.
Sources have told CNN that following Tuesday's attacks Pakistani officials have had at least one meeting with Taliban leaders urging them to hand over bin Laden to the U.S.
Although the outcome of that meeting was described as inconclusive, the Taliban have since suggested that they would consider extraditing him if it was able to examine the evidence.
They have, however, said they believe that bin Laden lacks the capability in terms of communications and resources to organize attacks of the magnitude seen in the U.S.
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