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America's New War: Pakistan and U.S. Ironing out Details

Aired September 24, 2001 - 05:01   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: High-level secret meetings are slated to begin soon in Pakistan, and State Department and Pentagon officials are expected in Islamabad to iron out details of a possible military strike.

CNN's Tom Mintier joins us now live from the Pakistani capital with more on this meeting.

Tom, what is the U.S. delegation expected to present to the Pakistanis?

TOM MINTIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Carol, this meeting was so secret, they slipped in late Saturday night. We had been watching for them for several days, but according to a senior Western diplomat, they arrived Saturday night, basically got their legs under them on Sunday, and this morning are in Quetta and Peshawar holding these meetings with Pakistani military.

Now, this delegation is a two-pronged effort: first, from the Pentagon and the State Department. The Pentagon probably attempting to lay down what they are expecting from Pakistan and from the Pakistani side what the United States is asking of them.

I think it's significant when you look at the two areas that they are visiting today in Peshawar and Quetta. These are areas that strategically, the United States probably -- as far as what the Pakistanis are going to support, either in intelligence gathering or over flights of the airspace. And the Pakistanis say as a last resort committing to the ground locations for American troops or resupply units.

So right now, basically the Pakistanis offering their airspace, and these meetings are going on right now in Quetta and Peshawar. So we'll have to wait. We probably won't hear the results of these meetings, but we know how important they are to the United States, because the secrecy that has surrounded the actual arrival. Even the ambassador for a while wasn't sure who the team leader was going to be or wouldn't say, and she was asked every time she appeared in public: When is this delegation going to arrive? When are they going to arrive? Well, they have arrived, and they are working on it around right now -- Carol.

LIN: Tom, what are you hearing about whether the United States is going to be presenting what's being called here a white paper -- absolute, positive proof of Osama bin Laden's involvement in the September 11 terrorist attacks?

MINTIER: I think this is something President Musharraf wants to have. He wants to, maybe not share it with the Pakistani people, but I think he would like in his own mind, because he has come out first and foremost and committed to unstinted support for the United States. So in his own mind, I'm sure he would like to see this white paper or this evidence against Osama bin Laden to satisfy his own mind for standing out on a very, very big limb in supporting the United States here in Pakistan.

LIN: All right. Thank you very much, Tom Mintier. We'll be looking for those details as they unfold -- a very serious meeting indeed, taking place today.

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