ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Pakistan's foreign minister said Wednesday that Taliban leader Mullah Omar was most likely hiding in Afghanistan, where U.S.-led coalition forces have launched a massive operation to flush out militants blamed for spiraling violence in the war-ravaged country's south.
Foreign Minister Khursheed Kasuri, however, said Pakistan was extending its full support to the coalition and Afghan forces in the fight against terrorism.
"We have deployed an additional 10,000 troops in our tribal areas near the Afghan border in recent months, bringing the troop deployment to about 90,000. It shows our level of sincerity and commitment," he told The Associated Press.
He said that Omar "is most likely hiding inside Afghanistan. But, we will act if we are given actionable intelligence on his whereabouts."
Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terror and Kasuri's comments came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with him in Islamabad to discuss how Pakistan, the United Satiates and Afghanistan could further improve coordination and cooperation in the fight against militants
Islamabad and Kabul are close U.S. allies but relations between the two have seen ups and downs since earlier this year when Afghan President Hamid Karzai claimed that senior Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives were hiding in Pakistan.
Pakistan has said Karzai's information was outdated.
On Wednesday, Kasuri said that Pakistani security forces were looking for Taliban and Al Qaeda fugitives in the tribal regions bordering Afghanistan, but he insisted that they have no information on the presence of any "high value target in Pakistan" a reference to Omar, Usama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.
"Everybody is looking for Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, and we are also doing so," he said, adding "no one knows where Usama or Ayman al-Zawahiri are hiding."