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Some hawks helping Taliban, admits Pak

Islamabad, Sept. 13 (Reuters): Pakistan said today some of its Islamic clerics could be assisting the Taliban but they should not be held solely responsible and Afghanistan had to take action against the hardline militia.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on Pakistani clerics on Friday to stop backing the ousted Taliban, which initially emerged from Pakistani seminaries in the 1990s and has been blamed for a spate of attacks in recent months in Afghanistan.

Karzai said Pakistani clerics were involved in recruiting and sending Taliban guerrillas to destabilise his country.

Pakistani interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said Karzai might be right.

“There is no denying the fact that certain elements within the clergy have been engaged in activities which have been leading the world to believe that the clergy are involved in terrorism,” Hayat said. “President Hamid Karzai’s assertion does have some logic, but at the same time it is not only the clergy in Pakistan,” he said. “They would certainly have some sympathisers within Afghanistan. “So it would also be in Karzai’s own interest that he takes complete and positive steps to tackle the situation within Afghanistan itself,” he said. Hayat was speaking after signing an agreement with his Sri Lankan counterpart John Amaratunga on cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

, drug smuggling and human trafficking.

He said Pakistan would continue to hunt for Osama bin Laden, other al Qaida members, and their Taliban allies in its tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

“The operational strategies that we have and which are going on, I am quite optimistic that time is running out for the top leadership of al Qaida,” he said.

The Taliban movement, which sheltered Osama bin Laden and his al Qaida network, has declared a holy war against foreign and government forces and aid workers in Afghanistan.

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