Pakistan Premier Backs Army Chief’s US Rebuke

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The New York Times says President Bush has secretly given American Special Operations forces the approval to attack targets inside Pakistan without getting permission from Pakistan’s government.

The report comes out at the same time Pakistan’s prime minister is backing his army chief’s criticism of the U.S. following a deadly American-led ground assault in Pakistani territory.

The powerful but media-shy army leader calls the attacks “short-term gains” that ignore Pakistan’s long-term interests, and he warns Pakistan will defend its territory.

Asked to comment on the Times’ report, the Foreign Ministry referred back to the army chief’s statement.

Also today, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown says he’ll talk with President Bush about a new approach to policing the Afghan-Pakistan border.