News / Asia

NATO, Karzai Call on Pakistan to do More Against Terrorism

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (l) during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul, March, 4, 2013.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (l) during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the presidential palace in Kabul, March, 4, 2013.
Sharon Behn
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen have called on Pakistan to do more to combat terrorism and condemned statements made last week by a leading Pakistan cleric apparently endorsing suicide attacks in Afghanistan. This latest spat between the neighboring countries could set back joint efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.
 
Karzai criticized the comments, which were made on Afghan television by a prominent Pakistan cleric who had been part of efforts by religious leaders in the two countries to bring peace to Afghanistan, and are likely to sour an already strained relationship between the two countries.
 
Speaking at a press conference,  Karzai said the statements made by Pakistan cleric Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi of the All Pakistan Ulema Council prove Islamabad supports suicide attacks as a tool of the Taliban's fight in Afghanistan.

We have always known that they supported suicide attacks, Karzai said, but now we have heard this directly from them. We hope that they [Pakistan] will be wise enough to take steps to change this situation.

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen, speaking at the same news conference, also condemned any suggestion that suicide attacks could be a legitimate tool of war. He urged the Pakistani government and military to step up their fight against terrorism and extremism.

"And I think the time has come for the Pakistani leadership - the military leadership as well as the political leadership - to realize that it is in their self-interest to ensure a peaceful development in Afghanistan," said Rasmussen.

Speaking to VOA by phone from Cairo, Ashrafi denied endorsing suicide attacks. He said a local Afghan TV interview had taken his remarks out of context. Ashrafi, a cleric seen as close to the Pakistani security establishment, has consistently come out against suicide attacks.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that both Pakistan and the clerics have repeatedly condemned suicide attacks. It also said that any statements issued by individuals did not reflect the views of the Pakistani government.

Ashrafi said any planned talks between Pakistan clerics and Afghan clerics designed to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table and bring peace to Afghanistan are off until Karzai apologizes.

Moeed Yusuf, senior South Asia analyst for the United States Institute of Peace, says the setback over an apparent misunderstanding highlights how fragile the relationship is between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

"It should tell you how deep the mistrust still is and how difficult it is going to be for them to continue working together, because these hiccups are going to come," said Yusuf.

The religious talks had paralleled a series of high-level political and military meetings between the two countries aimed at kick-starting Afghan reconciliation talks as international troops withdraw from Afghanistan. Some Pakistani religious scholars are believed to have influence over the insurgency in Afghanistan.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

Hong Kong Democracy Calls Spread to Macau

Macau and Hong Kong are China’s two 'special administrative regions' which gives them a measure of autonomy More

Kenyan Coastal Town Struggles With Deadly June Attacks

Three months after al-Shabab militants allegedly attacked their town, some Mpeketoni residents are still bitter, question who was really behind the assaults More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid