June 1999 News

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US officials declare Pakistan as culprit in Kargil

3 June 1999
Christian Science Monitor

This week, India accepted Pakistan's offer to negotiate over Kashmir, though a firm date has not been set. Yet US officials privately point to Pakistan as the main culprit. In a series of strongly worded messages and exchanges with Pakistani officals that border on the undiplomatic, senior US officials have, behind closed doors, virtually accused the Pakistanis of supporting if not creating the current crisis - in order to bring international sympathy for their claims on Kashmir and force action by the UN Security Council.

They say the size, planning, and the organized nature of the operation in Kashmir, the remote location of the guerrillas in the hills above the Indian town of Kargil, the use of Stinger missiles against Indian jets, which suggests premeditative action could not have been accomplished without military assistance and some strategic coordination from Pakistan.

"The Indians took a lot of casualties and the whole thing became so embarrasing that they had no choice but to send in aircraft, some which were then shot down," a senior US official told the Monitor. "This is a unanimous view not only in the [Clinton] administration and the State Department, but is shared by important allies. The Pakistanis may have miscalculated if they think this will force a debate in the Security Council."

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