US cancels ex-Gitmo general's assignment to Pakistan

In Islamabad, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government had asked Washington to cancel Hood's proposed assignment.

US cancels ex-Gitmo general's assignment to Pakistan
The U.S. military has dropped plans to assign the former commander of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to Pakistan, after sharp criticism of his Guantanamo command in Pakistani media, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Army Maj. Gen. Jay Hood would have become the top U.S. officer in Pakistan.

Although the decision to withdraw the assignment has not been formally announced, the Times said it appeared to reflect a widening shadow cast by the military prison at Guantanamo over U.S. foreign policy.

During Hood's command from 2004 to 2006, military authorities force-fed with tubes detainees engaging in hunger strikes at the prison, to prevent suicides to protest indefinite confinement.

In Islamabad, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government had asked Washington to cancel Hood's proposed assignment.

"We have genuine reservations and want these to be respected. We are allies and partners and we understand, and we should understand, each other's needs," Qureshi told the Senate, parliament's upper house on Friday.

"If, it's assumed, that our request is not entertained then we have options not to allow Hood and people sharing his thinking inside Pakistani territory," he said without elaborating.

The New York Times cited a U.S. Central Command spokesman saying Hood was now being considered for "a different, equally important job" in the command's headquarters, responsible for U.S. security interests in Pakistan and 24 other countries from the Horn of Africa through the Gulf into Central Asia.

A Central Command spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Hood had been expected to take over as chief of a division of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad known as the Office of the Defence Representative to Pakistan, the Times said. The office employs about two dozen people, and oversees military relations with Pakistan, including training and equipment.

The appointment would have provoked uproar in Pakistan.

Hundreds of Muslim prisoners, many from Pakistan, have been held at Guantanamo without charge since the prison was set up following the 11 September, 2001 attacks on the US.

Agencies
Last Mod: 09 Mayıs 2008, 15:55
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