Friday, May 9, 2008

US Withdraws Hood Posting in Pakistan

In the wake of the outrage in Pakistan, New York Times is reporting that the Bush administration has decided to cancel General Jay Hood's appointment to the US Embassy in Pakistan. General Hood is the former head of the US prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, where hundreds of Muslim prisoners, many from Pakistan, have been held without charge since the prison was set up following the 11 September, 2001 attacks on the US. There have been widespread reports of torture at the prison. The General admitted in 2005 that there had been a number of incidents involving Guantanamo guards showing "mishandling" the Koran.

Even though no formal announcements has been made, it is known that Pakistan had refused to accept this appointment. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his government had "genuine reservations" over the appointment of Maj-Gen Jay Hood.

The Hood appointment was announced in March. According to the NY Times, this appointment reflected the military's aim to put a crisis-tested veteran in a critical job at a pivotal time in the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taleban in Pakistan's tribal areas. The paper quoted a US Central Command spokesman as saying Gen Hood was now being considered for "a different, equally important job" at command headquarters.

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