US lawmaker wants troops redeployed from Iraq to Pakistan

By Xinhua

Washington : In the wake of growing terrorist threats in Pakistan and Thursday’s assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, a top US lawmaker has called for withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and their deployment in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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Kirsten Gillibrand, House Representative from New York, in her weekly Democratic radio address Saturday said the Democrats-dominated Congress was challenging President George W. Bush administration’s strategy in Iraq “in favour of a better one that will effectively combat terrorism and create stability in the Middle East.”

“Time and time again, we voted for a strategy to re-deploy troops out of Iraq to leave policing the streets to Iraqis, and to focus our mission on anti-terrorism, and we won’t give up,” she said.

“Such a strategy forces the political reconciliation through which stability and rejection of terrorism can flow more effectively. Such an approach would allow for a greater focus on addressing growing terrorist threats in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” she added.

However, the White House Saturday reiterated that the US-led military mission was justified again following the Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s new audiotape threat of waging more attacks on Iraq and Israel.

“This is a reminder that the aim of Al Qaeda in Iraq is to block democracy and freedom for all Iraqis,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

“It also reminds us that the mission to defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq is critically important and must succeed.”

In a 56-minute audiotape released Saturday, the voice that claimed to be bin Laden issued a warning against Sunni Arabs who are fighting Al Qaeda, and vowed to expand the war against Israel.

The tape, whose authenticity is still under verification, was the fifth of its kind released in 2007.