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MPs divided on Karzai's remarks about Pakistan

MPs divided on Karzai's remarks about Pakistan

Oct 23, 2011 - 18:18

KABULinfo-icon (PANinfo-icon): President Hamid Karzai's overnight interview with a private Pakistani television channel drew a mixed response from Parliamentarians on Sunday.

Speaking to Geo News, the president said peace talks with the Talibaninfo-icon Haqqani networkinfo-icon should take place in Pakistaninfo-icon. "I should say the Taliban shurainfo-icon is in Pakistan, we all know the Haqqani group is in Pakistan."

While urging the neighbouring country to cut its links with militants, he promised Afghanistaninfo-icon would stand by Islamabad in the event of hostilities with any nation, including the United States and India.

Since the insurgents were hiding across the Durand Lineinfo-icon, Karzai said: "That's why we clearly insist on talks with our brothers in Pakistan instead of a Talibinfo-icon without an address."

He acknowledged Pakistan had hosted millions of Afghans who fled their homeland after the Soviet invasion in the 1980s. "We are your brother, the way Pakistan gave us a place, the way it gave us a home, in the same way if someone attacks Pakistan, we will stand with you."

However, he repeatedly pleaded with Pakistan to stop supporting the insurgents, blamed for cross-border incursions into Afghanistan. "Please, brother, stop using all methods that hurt us and are now hurting you…"

A Wolesi Jirgainfo-icon member from Badakhshan rejected the presidential remarks as detrimental to the national interests. Fawzia Kofi blamed Karzai for backing a neighbour that constantly kept Afghanistan under political and military pressures.

In addition to being accused of encouraging Afghan rebels, Pakistan has stages a string of cross-border incursions into eastern Kunar and Nuristan provinces. But Karzai has played down the missile strikes as media exaggeration.

Kofi said: "Any irresponsible statements from people in high places are their personal views, not reflective of people's wishes and aspirations."

Like other state functionaries, she alleged, Karzai was also under the influence of Pakistan's spy service, Inter-Services Intelligence, and that was why he was speaking well of that country.

Another MP from southern Ghazni province, Abdul Qayyum Sajjadi, believed Karzai's pro-Pakistan remarks were driven by his lack of confidence in the US. In fact, the president did not want to have strained ties with the neighbour, he said.

Karzai wanted to remove mounting international pressure on the Pakistani government to take action against the Haqqani network, he added. The main problems in Afghanistan are the handiwork of the Pakistan government, according to him.

MP Mirbat Khan Mangal said Karzai's interview should be heard carefully to capture its gist. There might have been other motives behind the presidential remarks, he added.

According to Aimal Faizi, spokesman for the president, explained the thrust of Karzai's remarks was that Afghans would help Pakistan if it came under attack and if it needed help. The president did not mean attacks on insurgents, he said.



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