Accessibility links

Bush Urges Pakistan, Afghanistan to Put Differences Aside

U.S. President George Bush is urging Pakistan and Afghanistan to put their differences aside and work together to combat terrorism. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports Pakistan is denying Afghan allegations that its intelligence agencies and armed forces were behind a series of attacks in Afghanistan.

President Bush says the United States will take a close look at the allegations leveled against Pakistan by Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"We will investigate his charge. And we will work with his service to get to the bottom of his allegation," he said.

During a White House news conference, Mr. Bush did not directly address the issue of Pakistani complicity in attacks on Afghanistan. But he stressed there is no doubt, terrorists and extremists are operating out of Pakistan's tribal regions, across the Afghan border.

"And that is troubling to us," he said. "It is troubling to Afghanistan and it should be troubling to Pakistan. We share a common enemy."

The president made specific mention of the al-Qaida presence in the difficult terrain of northern Pakistan. He said there has been progress in combating the terrorist network.

"We have hurt al-Qaida hard, hit them hard and hurt them, around the world, including in Pakistan, and we will continue to keep the pressure on al-Qaida with our Pakistan friends," he said.

Mr. Bush will meet July 28 with the new Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. He told reporters he hopes Pakistan's government understands the dangers posed by terrorists operating on Pakistani soil, and will work cooperatively with both the United States and Afghanistan.

"It is a challenge and the three of us working together can deal with the challenge a lot better than if we do not work together," he added.

Mr. Bush was also asked about increasing violence against American and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

He said Iraq and Afghanistan are two different fronts in the same war. He said the United States is enjoying some success in Iraq, while Afghanistan remains a tough fight against a brutal enemy.

When asked if more U.S. troops might be headed to Afghanistan, the president noted that members of the coalition fighting there have already announced plans to send additional forces, including the United States and France.