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Haqqani Network has no presence in Kunar: Wahidi

Haqqani Network has no presence in Kunar: Wahidi

Jul 21, 2011 - 19:36

ASADABAD (PANinfo-icon): Afghan forces are ready to prevent insurgent attacks and elaborate steps have been taken to provide shelter for the displaced people in eastern Kunar province in the event of war, the governor said on Thursday.

In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, Governor Fazlullah Wahidi said intelligence reports submitted to him did not indicate the Haqqani Networkinfo-icon's presence in the province, bordering Pakistaninfo-icon's northwestern tribal region of Bajaur.

Former NATOinfo-icon commander in Afghanistaninfo-icon, Gen. David Petraeus, recently said the conflict might shift from the south to the east.

"In fact, we have no indication of the war coming to the east. ISAFinfo-icon makes predictions on the basis its own information," the governor said, believing that the former NATO commander's assessment was based on the Haqqani Network's stepped-up activities in the east.

"If the militants increase their operations in Kunar, we are militarily ready to deal with them. In case, families are displaced, we can arrange shelter and food for them," Wahidi added.

In addition to Pakistan-based Lashkar-i-Taiba, Jaish-i-Mohammad and Tehrik-i-Talibaninfo-icon members, Hezb-i-Islamiinfo-icon fighters are also active in the province, according to Wahidi, who reiterated that the Haqqani militants had no presence in Kunar.

He rejected Islamabad's allegation that the Afghan Taliban infiltrated into Pakistan from Kunar to attack security forces in the neighbouring country. A strong Afghan military presence along the border and ISAF air patrols did not allow cross-border incursions, he reasoned.

On the other hand, Wahidi claimed, they had evidence of cross-border missile attacks on Kunar by Pakistani forces. Without elaborating on the evidence, he said even NATO-led troops have acknowledged Pakistani forces' involvement in such strikes, which have caused 78 casualties in the province so far.

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