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Aziz:  Afghan Stability in Pakistan's Interest

  • Lisa Schlein

Pakistan's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, rejects accusations that his country is not doing enough to prevent Taleban forces from crossing the border into Afghanistan. He told a group of journalists in Geneva that stability in Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interests and his government is doing what it can to improve security and help the Afghan people. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA from Geneva, where Mr. Aziz attended a U.N. Economic and Social Council meeting.

Both the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai and the Bush administration say Pakistan could be doing more to keep the Taleban under wraps so they do not mount cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's prime minister, Shaukat Aziz, says his country's role regarding the Taleban's activity is being overplayed. He says what is happening in Afghanistan is a domestic reaction to lack of progress in the development of the country.

"The people of Afghanistan have gone through tremendous trauma over the last several decades because of all the violence and other stuff going on," he said. "It is in Pakistan's strategic interest to have a peaceful, stable and growing Afghanistan. If that is destabilized in any way, we are the biggest losers."

Aziz says Pakistan has done its utmost to help President Karzai and his government because it is in its interest to do so. He says there are Taleban militia all over Afghanistan. He says it is unclear who is behind all the incidents that are occurring.

"And they are not incidents near the Pakistan border," he said. "As you know, they are all across the country. So, Afghanistan is trying to improve its security forces, police, army, etc. And, we support these efforts because we think that peace in Afghanistan will help peace in the whole region. So, our interests are common."

The Pakistani prime minister says his government has stationed 80,000 troops along its border with Afghanistan to prevent, what he calls, elements who can create problems, from moving on either side. He says his government is coordinating security with Afghanistan to help improve the situation.

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