Analysts fault Karzai's remarks on cross-border incursions
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai's mild reaction to alleged cross-border incursions into Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran is reflective of his government's wavering political stance, political analysts believe.
On Sunday, Karzai said most media reports about Pakistan's missile strikes into Afghanistan were exaggerated. His government would take concrete steps in case of any threat to Afghanistan's territorial integrity, the president told a news conference.
Asking journalists to exercise caution while reporting such incidents and avoid spreading such rumours as caused concerns, he said: "Initially, we received reports of 100 to 200 rocket strikes and Pakistani soldiers crossing the border, but later on all this turned out to be a lie."
Political commentator Prof. Habibullah Rafi told Pajhwok Afghan News that Karzai's remarks were essentially driven by his wobbly position on national security issues. In a bid to please Pakistan and Iran, the president had ignored a fact known to the entire globe, he alleged.
"Our borders are violated, our people killed, wounded and displaced. But the president ironically calls all this media exaggeration," he said, accusing Karzai of breaching his oath of office to defend Afghanistan's territorial integrity and core national interests.
Military expert Gen. Abdul Wahid Taqat also opined the presidential stance was rooted in his government's weak stand on foreign aggression. He said the president had made similar statements in the past, but denied them later on.
With such statements, Karzai wants to calm down angry national sentiments and prevent Afghans from demanding a tit-for-tat response to Pakistani and Iranian attacks, according to Taqat.
Abdul Hamid Mubarez, the head of Afghanistan Journalists Association, insisted attacks on Afghanistan from Pakistani soil was a concrete fact, which could not be rejected as media exaggeration. The foreign ministry had twice summoned the Pakistani ambassador on the issue, he explained.
"If minutely analysed, the presidential remarks want media outlets to exercise restraint on the one hand and acknowledge, albeit vaguely, that something is going wrong," Mubarez continued. With the US toning down its anti-Pakistan tirade, Karzai did not want to further damage ties with the neighbouring country, he said.
Also on Monday, Kunar officials said Pakistani forces had fired hundreds of arterially shells into Afghan villages since May, inflicting huge financial losses on residents.
Provincial police chief, Brig. Gen. Awaz Mohammad Nazari, said Pakistani forces had fired around 1,591 rounds into the province over the past six months, killing 27 people and injuring another 42.
Seven houses and two mosques were also destroyed in the attacks, he alleged. Rockets fired by Pakistani forces also inflicted huge losses on residents living in villages on the Pakistani border, he said.
Nearly 100 animals perished in the cross-border shelling, the police chief claimed, saying they had a completed record of the missiles fired into Kunar.
The Narai district chief, Gul Zaman, said 82 rounds fired from Pakistan had landed in the town. The attacks killed six members of a family and injured nine others, he added.
Provincial council member, Syed Sikandar Shah Bacha, said the Pakistani forces shelled border districts, including Narai, Ghaziabad, Dangam, Asmar, Shegal, Marawara, Sarkano and Khas Kunar.
But Karzai's deputy spokesman said the president had not denied Pakistani missile strikes. In fact, he had rejected inflated reports released by some media organisations, Siamak Herawi added.
"Government officials have provided accurate information about the incidents to news organisations, but some media outlets have released reports that we still repudiate," he concluded.
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