US not ready to act against Pakistan: President
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Thursday said the US, in disregard of a bilateral strategic partnership accord, was unwilling to defend Afghanistan against cross-border incursions from Pakistan.
Karzai told reporters in Kabul the United States doubted the number of the attacks from Pakistani soil. "Americans don’t think the cross-border shelling is worth retaliation."
The president added: "They call the reports inaccurate and say it is unclear where the rockets are fired from; they are not ready to hit the areas from where rockets are slammed into Afghanistan."
In response to a question, he said Afghanistan would neither target civilians across the border nor it had the ability to strike those locations.
He complained Kabul was yet to receive a positive response from the US to his administration’s request for equipping Afghan Air Force. As a result, defense officials were being consulted on what Afghanistan should do if the US and NATO did not help, he said.
He continued they were in discussions on whether Afghanistan should wait for the implementation of the strategic accord with US or purchase weapons from Russia, China and other countries.
If US did not equip Afghan forces, it should not prevent the Afghan government from purchasing arms and equipment from other countries, the president said.
During his meeting with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and British Premier David Cameron in New York, Karzai said cooperation in the war on terror and extremism came up for discussion.
On the upcoming presidential elections, Karzai said: “Any kind of vote even with irregularities is better than an illegal government.” He quoted an oft-used line that he would not remain in office even a day beyond his constitutional term, which ends in 2014.
He promised the elections would be held on schedule. However, he said “foreigners” should not interfere in the electoral process as they did during the last presidential and parliamentary elections.
Karzai remarked: "The election will definitely take place on time. Go on and choose your favorite candidate. My term, if prolonged even by a day, will be seen as illegitimate."
In the same breath, however, he chided the international media for painting a "doomsday scenario" of his country following the withdrawal of foreign forces in 2014. Foreign media outlets were waging "psychological warfare" on Afghanistan.
“If the objective of this propaganda campaign is to show that Afghanistan is weak and undermine people's self-confidence, this is not something allies do,” the president observed.
He believed the war on terror was a failure because it was being fought in Afghan villages, and not against the militants hiding in neighbouring countries -- a not-so-veiled reference to Pakistan.
The president outlined Afghanistan’s “preconditions” for a strategic pact with Pakistan, including effective measures by Islamabad to prevent the infiltration of terrorists and suicide bombers into the country.
“The root causes of the deaths of our children and instability (in Afghanistan) must be eliminated first,” he stressed. Afghanistan would sign the agreement only when Pakistan met the conditions and stopped training and sending militants into Afghanistan, the president reiterated.
Karzai added he had discussed Afghanistan’s terms with Zardari and Cameron. Work on reaching the agreement would proceed gradually, he said, promising that any strategic pact Afghanistan signed with a foreign country would take into account its interests.
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