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Pakistan Disputes 9/11 Panel on Al Qaeda Ties

June 24, 2004|From Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — America's Sept. 11 commission made false observations that Pakistan had contacts with Al Qaeda, a Pakistani official said Wednesday.

"We have had no truck with Al Qaeda and its associates," Foreign Ministry spokesman Masood Khan said.

"We think that this view by the 9/11 commission is biased, partial and completely unscientific," Khan said at a news conference in the capital, Islamabad.

Khan was reacting to comments by the chairman of the commission, Thomas H. Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, who said this week that the Al Qaeda terrorist network had "a lot more active contacts, frankly, with Iran and with Pakistan than there were with Iraq."

Pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan -- a base for Osama bin Laden -- before a U.S.-led coalition ousted the Taliban in 2001. After the Sept. 11 attacks, Pakistan became a key U.S. ally in its fight against terrorism.

Pakistan has since handed over more than 500 Al Qaeda suspects to the United States.

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