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Pakistan Rejects Afghan Leader's Latest Accusation of Aiding Taleban


Afghan President Hamid Karzai has again accused elements in Pakistan of aiding and abetting Taleban insurgents. The accusations come a day after more than 100 people were killed across the country in some of the deadliest violence in nearly five years.

Reacting to some of the worst insurgent fighting in five years, Afghan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at neighbor Pakistan.

Speaking late Thursday, he accused Pakistan's hard-line religious schools of encouraging students to join the militant Islamic Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan. Local media also report Mr. Karzai fingered (blamed) Pakistan's powerful intelligence services for helping train and arm the insurgents.

The president's comments echoed previous concerns raised by U.S. and British military commanders in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has repeatedly been accused of turning a blind eye to (ignoring) terrorist training camps inside its tribal border areas such as Baluchistan.

Friday, Pakistan's foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, defended Pakistan's record on border security and dismissed President Karzai's accusations.

"Let us not lose our cool. What is need is close cooperation, close coordination, intelligence sharing," he said. "Simply by finger pointing you will only make the situation worse."

Pakistan insists it is doing all it can to help secure the border and defeat the Taleban. Some 80,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed to the border areas where the militants are thought to be hiding out.

The fighting this week has left more than a hundred people dead and is fueling widespread concerns that the militant Islamic Taleban remains a major threat to Afghanistan's fragile democratic government. Coalition and Afghan forces engaged the Taleban mainly in the southern provinces of Kandahar and Helmand. But there were also deadly suicide bomb attacks in western and central Afghanistan.

The violence comes as NATO peacekeepers expand their presence throughout Afghanistan. By the end of the year NATO is scheduled to take control of security operations from the U.S.-led coalition forces.

Military officials say the handover could be provoking the latest round of violence as Taleban militants try to intimidate the new NATO troops.

The Taleban was ousted from power in Afghanistan by the U.S.-led coalition in 2001 after it gave safe haven to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida followers.

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