This is a partial transcript from On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, January 28, 2004 that has been edited for clarity.
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GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Now to a report on the war on terror. Is the U.S. military plotting another war?
FNC's Greg Kelly has the story from Washington -- Greg.
CAMERON: Thank you.
GREG KELLY, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Greta.
Usama bin Laden is out there and U.S. officials believe he's in the mountainous Afghan-Pakistan border region. They've believed that for a while, but now news that a major offensive by U.S. forces along that border is planned for this spring.
The hope: the find top level Al Qaeda and Taliban agents as well as Usama bin Laden himself.
Now the region is believed to be where Taliban and Al Qaeda forces have been traveling between Afghanistan and Pakistan at will. U.S. officials deeply concerned that recent assassination attempts on Pakistani President Musharraf were prosecuted by Al Qaeda operatives.
Now Musharraf is a key U.S. ally. His passing would be a major blow for the United States in the war on terror and it is believed it would further destabilize the region.
Now this so-called "spring offensive," [is] expected to be carried out in March. -- In part by Special Operations as well as conventional forces -- it would take place in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and word is that President Musharraf has approved a plan that would let U.S. forces operate inside his country.
Now this planned offensive, which according to sources is aimed at grabbing Al Qaeda and Taliban forces as they emerge from their winter hiding places, comes as Operation Avalanche is still underway. Now this is a sweep of the southern and eastern parts of Afghanistan that border Pakistan. The intent there to grab enemy fighters before they settle in for the winter.
Now bottom line, well, the pressure, the forces to bear, are being increased on Al Qaeda and Taliban remnants. Military officials have expressed confidence today that Bin Laden will be captured within the next year.
Greta, back to you.
VAN SUSTEREN: Greg, thank you. Joining us from Berlin is FOX News Foreign Affairs Analyst Mansoor Ijaz.
Mansoor, this planned offensive in Pakistan, your reaction.
MANSOOR IJAZ, FOX ANALYST: Well, Greta, it's a combination of both external factors as well as regional and internal factors inside Pakistan.
Inside Pakistan, Musharraf is clearly fed up with the Jihadi culture. I think he's obviously very upset about the two assassination attempts. But it's also pretty clear that he's now decided that the only way to get control of the politics on the ground is to go after these Jihadis and to really prosecute them, and if it requires bringing the American army in to do it, so be it. That's number one.
Number two, there is great concern about the stability of Hamid Karzai's government in Afghanistan because of the resurgence of the Taliban government and that has been one of the rallying cries. Every time an Afghan official comes to Washington, that's the first thing that they want to complain about, that the Pakistanis are allowing the Taliban and other remnants of Al Qaeda to essentially regrow their roots and come across the border into Afghanistan.
And then, finally, I think there is a great deal of interest in the Indian government and I think this was part of the deal that was made between Musharraf and [Indian Prime Minister] Vajpayee in this recent summit that they had, with the Americans helping out, that they had to get the Al Qaeda remnants out of the region so that Kashmir could be in fact be dealt with in a peaceful way without these Jihadis going up there again.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mansoor, with all the assassination attempts on President Musharraf, if the word gets out -- I'm assuming it is out now -- that the United States is seeking to work with him and actually have a military action in his country, what does that do to his security in his own country?
IJAZ: Well, I think that we have stepped up the efforts to try and protect President Musharraf with our own people on the ground. Our intelligence capabilities, our technology and so forth are now enveloping him the same way they do President Bush or other various important Western leaders.
But you have a very important point that you're making, and that is that there is a real chance that the time race here between us trying to get them and then trying to get our guy in Islamabad, we may lose that race, and it's a real concern. I don't think there is any known answer in that sense.
VAN SUSTEREN: And I suppose that same sort of danger also would be for any American citizens traveling in that region, right?
IJAZ: No question about that.
Let me add one other point, if I could, to what I said before. This is also a big problem for Musharraf in prosecuting against these nuclear scientists that he's going after for the nuclear leaks that have taken place that we're now finding out about how Pakistan metastasized its nuclear capabilities, and that's a real problem as well, because that then goes to the very heart of what all Pakistanis, whether you're liberal or conservative or jihadi or fundamentalist or fanatic, all Pakistanis believe that their nuclear scientists are national heroes.
So I think Musharraf has to be very careful about how he prosecutes that particular internal battle, because that could blow up in his face in a way that nobody expects right now.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mansoor, do you really believe that Musharraf and his government was completely unaware of the fact that the father of the nuclear weapons program in Pakistan was actually involved in some sort of freelancing of nuclear technology?
IJAZ: The most critical transfers that took place, Greta, took place at a time when Musharraf was a very junior officer in the army. Now it is true that a lot of the Libyan transfers took place during the past two and a half to three years, but it is my understanding, and in fact I can say this with authority because I know what they were doing, it is my understanding that the people that were most responsible at that time were the old ISI chief, General Mahmoud Ahmad and people that he had put in charge of that operation.
Now I know that there was a big rift between Mahmoud Ahmad and General Musharraf because I was in the room when one of those conversations took place, and I can tell you that these guys were at odds with each other for a very long time. It is my view that Musharraf did not know everything that was going on, and I think he is in fact telling us the truth when he says that.
Now did other elements of his government know what was going on? Absolutely. Can they be prosecuted? Probably not.
VAN SUSTEREN: Mansoor, would you ... advised President Musharraf tonight to trust the ISI, his intelligence service?
IJAZ: The ISI chief, General Sanuhuck, is a man who I think he can trust. He was his former military intelligence chief. And he's a secular and very moderate and straightforward, honest guy.
But the real problem that he's got is what happened with his assassination attempts, and that is mid-level officers getting information from people that they shouldn't be getting it from and giving information to people that they shouldn't be giving it to.
That's where the real problem lies in Pakistan, and it is why Musharraf has decided to take these people on now, because if we don't get them now, we're never going to be able to root these guys out and then we'll have conflict in that part of the world for a very long time.
So even if we lose him over this, we have a lot to thank him for in terms of the courageousness of what he's doing because the fact of the matter is that somebody's got to do it, and if he doesn't do it, I don't see anybody else standing behind him that will.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Mansoor, thank you very much.
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