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NATO Denies Reports of Troop Movements Near Afghan-Pakistani Border 


A NATO spokesman in Afghanistan says reports of hundreds of troops massing near the Pakistani border are totally inaccurate.

Spokesman Mark Laity told VOA Afghan service Tuesday that coalition forces are not conducting any unusual activity near the border.

Laity was responding to reports from local Pakistani officials and villagers who say they have witnessed a buildup of troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Residents of Lowara Mandi in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region report that foreign troops moved armored vehicles and heavy artillery into Afghanistan's border region Tuesday.
Witnesses say some Pakistani families have fled the area because of fears of a cross-border strike.

But Pakistani army officials are playing down fears of such a strike. They say the troop movement in Afghanistan is probably routine, and that reports of a buildup of U.S. forces are "unnecessary hype."

The United States and Afghanistan say Pakistan's tribal regions are a haven for militants who stage cross-border attacks into Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has threatened to send troops into Pakistan if the Islamabad government does not stop the violence. Pakistan says it does not allow its territory to be used to attack other countries.

Last month, the U.S. military moved an aircraft carrier from the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea to further support its operations in Afghanistan.

In another development, Pakistan is denying the Afghan president's allegations that its intelligence agencies and armed forces were behind a series of attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry Tuesday called the allegations "baseless" and said they were aimed at creating an "artificial crisis" in relations.

Mr. Karzai's spokesman told reporters in Kabul today that his government will only disclose its proof of Pakistan's involvement in the attacks if Islamabad is interested in addressing the problem.

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