The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Pak allays Afghan fears

Islamabad, July 24: Afghanistan today praised Pakistan’s strong assurances of cooperation in the war against terrorism but suggested that its citizens were justified in viewing the string of recent attacks on foreign aid workers and government targets with suspicion.

“Afghans see people coming from across the border to kill foreign (aid) workers, attack Afghan targets and then escape back through the border. Then they ask why this happens, why is it coming from across the border,” Afghan interior minister Ali Ahmed Jalali told reporters here when asked about anti-Pakistan feelings in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had recently suggested that Pakistan had failed in controlling anti-Afghan religious extremists.

Tensions between the two neighbours have been running high after their troops clashed in a tribal zone between the two nations called Mohamand Agency.

A tripartite commission comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US last week established a sub-commission to investigate the Afghan allegations. Jalali’s host, Pakistan interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, said his country respected Afghanistan’s territorial integrity and its troops never stepped on Afghan soil.

Jalali, however, emphasised that three Afghan delegations his government had sent to the area did confirm violations by Pakistani border forces. “I am still looking forward to the findings of the sub-commission,” the Afghan minister said.

Jalali also countered questions on the Indian hand in two major terrorist attacks on Shia targets in southwestern Pakistan.

“How can one say there is an Indian hand behind this,” Jalali said when asked why he thought the Indian (intelligence agencies) were not involved in the Shia attacks.

He said the phenomenon of sectarian violence has been there for years in Pakistan and it was not fair to blame this on India without evidence.

Jalali played down the July 8 attack on the Pakistani embassy in Kabul as an act by a few individuals and promised action against those involved.

Flanked by Hayat during the press conference, Jalali said he had been reassured that the Pakistani government was doing its utmost to prevent any subversive activity inside Afghanistan.

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