ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – America's Sept. 11 commission made false observations that Pakistan (search) had contacts with Al Qaeda (search), a Pakistani official said Wednesday, denying any links with the terror network.
"We have had no truck with Al Qaeda and its associates," said Masood Khan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Foreign Ministry.
"We think that this view by the 9/11 commission is biased, partial and completely unscientific," Khan said at a news conference in the capital, Islamabad.
Khan was reacting to comments by the chairman of the commission, Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey, who said Monday that Al Qaeda had "a lot more active contacts, frankly, with Iran and with Pakistan than there were with Iraq."
Pakistan was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban government of Afghanistan, which harbored Usama bin Laden (search) and a network of Al Qaeda training camps. After the Sept. 11 attacks, however, it became a key ally in the U.S. war on terrorism that ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001.
Pakistan has since handed over more than 500 Al Qaeda suspects to the United States, including Al Qaeda No. 3 Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was caught in March 2003 near Islamabad.
Still, hundreds of Al Qaeda fugitives, including possibly bin Laden and his top aide Ayman al-Zawahri, are believed to be hiding along Pakistan's rugged border with Afghanistan.
Khan, the ministry spokesman, said Pakistan cannot be blamed for Al Qaeda's presence in the region.
"Remember, there were 19 hijackers who were found on American soil and they attacked the Twin Towers and committed a horrendous terrorist act," he said. "On that count shall we hold the U.S. government responsible?"
The Sept. 11 commission is probing the circumstances surrounding the terror attacks and ways to safeguard against such attacks. It has a July 26 deadline to complete its final report.