Accessibility links

Pakistan Acknowledges Taleban Launching Cross-Border Raids into Afghanistan

  • Benjamin Sand

Pakistan's president has acknowledged Taleban insurgents are using Pakistani territory to stage cross-border attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. But General Pervez Musharraf strongly rejected allegations that Pakistan's military or intelligence services are helping the extremists.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has assured Afghanistan that his country shares Kabul's commitment to rooting out Taleban insurgents.

But Mr. Musharraf did acknowledge Taleban insurgents have been using Pakistan's remote tribal areas to launch cross-border attacks inside Afghanistan.

The Pakistani leader was addressing a gathering of senior Afghan military commanders and government officials, including Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Thursday morning.

"There are al-Qaida and Taleban in both Afghanistan and Pakistan," he said. "Certainly they are crossing from Pakistan side and causing bomb blasts and terrorist activities in your country. We know they are doing this, but the question is - this is not sponsored - we are doing our best."

Afghan officials have repeatedly accused Islamabad of not doing enough to stop Taleban and al-Qaida militants from establishing bases in Pakistan and launching cross-border raids.

Mr. Musharraf said Thursday that Pakistan has already deployed 80,000 troops to the border area and arrested more than 300 Taleban insurgents this year alone, handing most of them over to the Afghan government.

Mr. Musharraf said Pakistan has also lost more than 400 of its own soldiers in its fight to secure the region and repeated an offer to help fence off and mine the border area.

The Pakistan president's comments come as Afghanistan confronts a dramatic rise in insurgent activity.

Taleban militants have staged a series of offensives and targeted killings that have destabilized much of the country.

Speaking Thursday alongside Pakistan's president, Afghan leader Hamid Karzai said most of the fighting is in areas bordering Pakistan and pressed Mr. Musharraf for greater assistance.

"We are seeking your help to bring us more safety and security. It is not accusations, it is not blaming. It is asking a brother for help so that both can live in prosperity," he said.

Afghanistan faces its bloodiest year since 2001, when a U.S.-led coalition ousted the hard-line Taleban regime.

Separately Thursday, NATO's top military commander called for reinforcements in southern Afghanistan as fighting there intensifies.

General James Jones of the U.S. Marines says alliance forces in the Taleban's traditional stronghold are meeting unanticipated resistance from the insurgents.

Jones told reporters that NATO commanders on the ground in the area are seeking several hundred additional troops and more air support, including combat-ready helicopters.

NATO took over security operations in the region from the United States on July 31.

XS
SM
MD
LG