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Afghanistan, Pakistan to Do More Against Taliban

Afghanistan and Pakistan, two allies of US-led anti-terror coalition, have kept asking each other in the past days to do more in the fight against resurgent Taliban remnants who are regrouping and intensifying attacks in Afghanistan.

Afghanistan has expressed its grave concern over the increasing attacks by Taliban remnants along the Pak-Afghan border and urged Islamabad to support its efforts against terrorism.

At a joint conference with visiting US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld held in Kabul on Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf has promised that Islamabad will do all it can to stop terrorist activities in the border area. Karzai also hoped for results from Pakistan's promise to step up efforts against Talibans crossing into Afghanistan to carry out attacks.

"We believe that a joint fight against terrorism between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the United States and the rest of the region is entirely in the interest of all the countries and international peace," said Karzai.

"We are hopeful that the stricter approach by Pakistan against the Taliban incursions into Afghanistan, against terrorism would produce the desired results," he added.

In an interview with a Canadian television, Karzai stressed that "this menace of terrorism can't go away unless the countries in this region, especially Pakistan and Afghanistan, cooperate with each other in a sincere and honest manner." "We are definitely concerned about the increased activities of the Talibanon the Pak-Afghan border," he said.

Afghan Interior Minister Ali Ahmed Jalali on the same day asked Islamabad to do more against "cross-border" attacks into Afghanistan.

"Pakistan is trying. We hope. We also requested Pakistan to do more in order to prevent cross-border attacks into Afghanistan," "We hope that the two countries will work together in order to establish firm control in the tense areas along the border between the two neighbors," Jalali said in an interview with a website.

He pointed out that the immediate threat from Taliban is from along the 2500 kilometer porous border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, once a staunch supporter of the former Taliban regime.

Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday accused Islamabad of not doing enough to prevent Taliban attacks on his country.

He said that Taliban forces are attacking Afghanistan from "safe havens" outside the country in an attempt "to give the sense that they are not being defeated" by the Afghan and US troops. Taliban leaders driven out of Afghanistan "have been very active" in Pakistan and Islamabad "has not been taking necessary, adequate actions" against them, Abdullah said in an interview with Portuguese state radio in Lisbon.

He urged Pakistan to collaborate more with international efforts to combat terrorism.

However, Pakistan does not agree with Afghanistan and insists that not only Islamabad but also Washington and Kabul should do more to fight terrorism.

At a ceremony to donate textbooks to Afghan schools as a goodwill gesture, Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri on Tuesday said Islamabad is ready to do more to pacify Afghanistan's concern "that Talibans are regrouping and organizing attacks from Pakistani territories" and that Washington and Kabul also should take more action against terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.

"Sometimes we are told to do more. In fact all of us can do more. The Americans can do more and the Afghans can do more," Kasuri said.

Pakistan, which deserted Taliban and aligned itself with the United States after Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has assured Kabul once and again that it will not allow anyone or any organization to use its soil against Afghanistan. And senior officials from both countries have affirmed their resolve to combat Taliban remnants and al-Quaeda terrorists and decided to reinforce the existing cooperation to eliminate the menace of terrorism.

However, the failure to prevent increasing attacks in the past months along the border has deepened the mistrust between Kabul and Islamabad and it seems that the two sides thus will not stop blaming each other for the inefficiency to fight Taliban, which has become a destabilizing factor in their relations.

(Xinhua News Agency September 11, 2003)

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