Afghanistan urges Pakistan to stop ‘terrorists’

KABUL (AFP) – Pakistan should stop “terrorists” from using its soil to attack Afghanistan if it makes deals with Taliban militants along the troubled border, the Afghan defence ministry said.

Islamabad has been trying to reach a peace deal with a Taliban commander on its side of the frontier. The militant halted talks last week because the government refused to withdraw its troops from his area.

The Afghan defence ministry said it was concerned any such deal would not result in a cessation of violence in Afghanistan by militants said to be based in Pakistan and to cross the border to attack.

The ministry cited media reports that a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban vowed to continue the “real jihad (holy war)” in Afghanistan even if a peace deal was reached with Islamabad.

“Afghanistan supports any action resulting in peace and stability in the region but only if such actions do not cause further terrorist activities in Afghanistan,” it said.

The ministry described a now-defunct 2006 deal between Pakistan and pro-Taliban militants in its Waziristan area as a “bitter experience.”

It had allowed militants “sufficient time to regroup, re-equip and moblise themselves and take the lives of hundreds of children, women and men,” it said, referring to a wave of extremist violence in both countries.

“Afghanistan’s biggest hope from the brotherly and friendly country of Pakistan is that its land be not used by terrorists against Afghanistan,” it added.

The Taliban were removed from government in Afghanistan in a US-led invasion in late 2001 for harbouring Al-Qaeda, which it allowed to operate training camps.

Many rebels fled across the border to Pakistan from where they are said to be plotting an Al-Qaeda-backed insurgency that has left thousands of people dead in Afghanistan, including civilians and international troops supporting Kabul.

The US State Department said last week that Al-Qaeda is rebuilding itself in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas and North West Frontier Province, both on the border with Afghanistan.

Kabul favours peace talks with rebels to halt the unrest, but only with those who agree to accept the new government and renounce violence.

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