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Kayani: US, NATO Must Block 'Miscreants'

  • VOA News

U.S. General John Allen in Kabul, April 4, 2012.

U.S. General John Allen in Kabul, April 4, 2012.

Pakistan's army chief is urging the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan to take action to curb incursions by militants who cross into Pakistan from Afghanistan.

Local media reports quote Pakistani military officials who say General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani raised the issue during talks with U.S. General John Allen in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi on Wednesday.

Earlier this week, Pakistan lodged a formal protest with Afghanistan after a cross-border attack that killed 13 Pakistani soldiers.

The Pakistani military said more than 100 militants from Afghanistan attacked Pakistani forces in the northwestern Upper Dir region late Sunday. Six troops were killed in the clash, and the military said another 11 soldiers went missing, including seven who were later found beheaded.

On Wednesday, the Pakistani Taliban released a video described as showing the heads of 17 Pakistani soldiers captured during the raid. Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan sent the video via email to reporters.

Pakistan's army said it strongly protested to Afghanistan about the attack and chided Afghan military officials for "not taking action against miscreants present in safe havens in Afghanistan." During Wednesday's meeting, General Kayani reportedly told General Allen that "such incidents will not be tolerated in the future."

The U.S. and NATO commander's visit to Pakistan comes amid renewed calls by U.S. and Afghan officials for Pakistan to crack down on militants who launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan -- including the al-Qaida-linked Haqqani network.

The Haqqani network is believed to be based in Pakistan's North Waziristan tribal region and has carried out numerous attacks in Afghanistan.

Last week, at least 20 people were killed in a militant siege of a lakeside hotel outside the Afghan capital, Kabul.

General Allen said the attack bore the signature of the Haqqani network. He said the group continues to target and kill innocent Afghans and violate Afghan sovereignty from "the safety of Pakistan."

In the background of Wednesday's talks in Rawalpindi, tensions are still running high between the United States and Pakistan over the contentious issue of NATO supply routes into Afghanistan.

Islamabad shut down the supply lines after coalition airstrikes last November that mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops at the border.

And those tensions between government officials appear to have trickled down to the general public. A survey released in the United States Wednesday by the Pew Research Center said as many as 74 percent of Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy, up from 69 percent last year and 64 percent three years ago.

The Pew Research Center also found that only 13 percent of Pakistanis think relations with the United States have improved in recent years, down from 16 percent in 2011 -- and that strengthening bilateral ties is also becoming less of a priority for Pakistanis.

According to poll results, roughly four in ten Pakistanis believe that American economic and military aid is having a negative impact on their country. Fewer Pakistanis want intelligence and logistical support from the U.S. than they did three years ago, with only 17 percent supporting U.S. drone strikes against militants on Pakistani soil.

Pew surveyed roughly 1,200 people in Pakistan between March 28 and April 13 of this year, with the sample covering 82 percent of the population. The poll did not include respondents from Pakistan's tribal areas and other parts of the northwest due to security reasons.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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