Pakistani Troops on Alert
Pakistan has put its army on alert ahead of a possible US attack on neighboring Afghanistan over last week's terror attacks on the United States, a defense ministry official said Monday.
"Army forces are on simple alert. There is no movement of troops and troops have not been moved to the borders," a military spokesman told AFP, requesting anonymity.
"Forces available in garrisons are on alert in view of the future situation ... Forces are usually put on alert in such situations."
Pakistani authorities have stepped up security at the main Torkham border checkpoint in the North West frontier Province as hundreds of Afghans continue to try to flee their homeland due to drought and civil war.
There have been few indications of Taliban preparations for war, but a heavy machine gun on the Afghan side of the border at Torkham has been trained on the Pakistani check posts since Sunday, an AFP photographer said.
Pakistani military spokesman Major General Rashid Qureshi denied reports that the borders with Afghanistan had been sealed as part of an "economic blockade".
"There is no order regarding the sealing of the Afghan borders as we already don't allow anyone to cross the border without travel documents," he told AFP.
A report in the News daily said Pakistan had suspended a key transit trade agreement with land-locked Afghanistan, but this was also dismissed by senior finance ministry officials.
The Taliban have threatened to attack any neighboring country which assists with a US strike on Afghanistan, a direct warning to its ally Pakistan.
Pakistan has promised its full cooperation in Washington's war on terrorism following the September 11 terrorist atrocities in New York and Washington.
Saudi-born extremist Osama bin Laden, hiding in Afghanistan as a guest of the Taliban Islamic militia, is the prime suspect -- ISLAMABAD (AFP)
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