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Musharraf Admits Some Afghan Anti-Government Activities Originate in Pakistan - 2004-02-12

Pakistan has admitted for the first time that some anti-government activities in neighboring Afghanistan are originating from Pakistani soil.

Addressing senior military officers at the National Defense Collage in Islamabad, President Pervez Musharraf said that Pakistan is taking steps to prevent Afghan insurgents from carrying out raids into Afghanistan from Pakistani territory.

"Certainly everything is not happening from Pakistan," the president said. "But certainly something is happening from Pakistan. Let us not bluff ourselves. Now whatever is happening from Pakistan must be stopped, and that is what we are trying to do."

As a close U.S. ally in the war on terror, Pakistan has deployed nearly 70,000 troops along the porous border with Afghanistan to discourage the movement of insurgents.

But Afghan authorities and U.S. military officials have regularly complained that members of Afghanistan's ousted Taleban government, as well as remnants of the al-Qaida terror network, are still able to use Pakistani border regions for launching attacks inside Afghanistan.

In the past, Pakistani officials have disputed such suggestions. Mr. Musharraf is the first Pakistani leader to admit that the complaints are valid. The president says that fugitive Taleban and al-Qaida militants must be eliminated because they have their own agenda, which, he says, has nothing to do with Pakistan and Islam.

"When it does not involve us, why are they using, misusing our territory, our country to project their own agenda," he asked. "Go to some other country, go away from Pakistan. We will not have them here. So therefore all of us must act to finish off al-Qaida, any body acting from Pakistan territory."

The southern and southeastern regions of Afghanistan that border Pakistan have seen frequent attacks against local and foreign targets. A 12,000 strong U.S.-led multinational anti-terrorism force is hunting down these militants. Early this year the U.S. military announced that it will launch a spring offensive against Islamic rebels in Afghanistan.