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December 03, 2012

NATO Supports Pakistan in Terrorism Fight

by VOA News

NATO's chief says the alliance stands together with Pakistan as the South Asian nation combats the "scourge" of terrorism.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen acknowledged Monday that Pakistan has "paid a high price" for its efforts to defeat terrorism.  He made the comments during a meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on the sidelines of a NATO ministerial meeting in Brussels.

​In Pakistan's northwest, a bomb blast ripped through a police van on the outskirts of  the city of Peshawar, killing two officers.  There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Monday's blast.

In Brussels, NATO said Khar met with members of the North Atlantic Council, who welcomed renewed military-to-military dialogue in recent months and "emphasized that Pakistan's positive engagement was needed to ensure long-term peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region."

International combat forces are set to complete their withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Separately in Pakistan, local residents say more than 100 graves of Ahmadis were desecrated in the eastern city of of Lahore.

Witnesses say gunmen entered a cemetery early Monday and broke many of the grave stones after attacking the security guard.

The Pakistani government has officially declared Ahmadis non-Muslim, and many Muslims consider them heretics.

When asked about the incident and other recent attacks, Pakistan's Minister for Interfaith Harmony Paul Bhatti told VOA's Deewa Radio, "small Incidents of violence against minorities are happening in Karachi, Lahore and I think those groups are involved who want to create unrest in the country."   He said the incidents "are targeted at derailing the government interfaith peace efforts" in Pakistan.

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