| GEO World|
| US army generalís name withdrawn for Pakistan post|
| Updated at: 2226 PST, Friday, May 09, 2008|
WASHINGTON: An army general who led the Guantanamo detention center at a time when alleged mishandling of Korans sparked Muslim riots has been withdrawn as the US military's proposed top representative in Pakistan.
Major General Jay Hood was named in March to the post of US defense representative in Pakistan, a key position at a time of mounting US concern over Al-Qaeda and the Taliban activities in Pakistani safe havens.
He would have replaced Major General James Helmly, the current US defense representative to Pakistan.
"Unfortunately, due to an unforecasted requirement General Hood is being considered for a different, equally important position within the United States Central Command headquarters," US military spokeswoman said.
Reed would not comment on whether the move was spurred by negative reaction in Pakistan to the appointment in that sensitive post of a general who commanded Guantanamo from 2004 to 2006.
But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters "that was part of it."
Riots erupted in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan in 2005 following a report in Newsweek that military interrogators at the detention center flushed a Koran down a toilet to rattle detainees.
Hood conducted an investigation into 13 incidents in which personnel were alleged to have mishandled the Muslim holy book.
His investigation substantiated five incidents but concluded they were unintentional, and found no evidence of a Koran being flushed down a toilet.
The Central Command would not say what position Hood will have at headquarters. A replacement for Helmly in Pakistan has not been identified.
"We are committed to finding an equally qualified senior officer for this critical responsibility," said Reed.
"Our determination to send our best people to Pakistan reflects the importance of our defense relationship with Pakistan and our relationship in the war on terror," she said.