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Kiyani Rebukes US Over Pak Raids

From Pakistan's Army Chief of Staff, generally seen as a person the US could work with going forward, comes a stinging rebuke and a warning to the United States regarding its unilateral attacks on Taliban-al-Qaeda positions and figures holed up inside Pakistan's tribal areas.

“No external force is allowed to conduct operations inside Pakistan,” the military chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said in what amounted to a direct rebuff to the United States by the Pakistanis, who are regarded by the Bush administration as an ally in the campaign against terrorism.

When General Kayani took over as chief of the army in November, American officials spoke highly of him and were counting on him to be their ally in much the same way, perhaps even to a greater degree, as President Pervez Musharraf had been. Mr. Musharraf was president and army chief for almost all of his nearly nine-year rule.

General Kayani’s statement on Wednesday seemed to call into question the extent of his cooperation and that of Pakistan’s army.

This is profoundly significant and may serve to be a harbinger of a clarifying - if unwelcome - moment in Pakistani-US relations going forward.

Analysis forthcoming before sunrise.

The warning came the day after the swearing in of the new Pakistani president, Asif Ali Zardari, and was interpreted here as a swift repudiation of Mr. Zardari, who is widely viewed as being pro-American.