Pakistan PM chides Karzai over accusations

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chided Afghanistan’s president on Wednesday over his remarks accusing Pakistan of a spate of terrorist attacks, saying he wants a stable government in Kabul.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are important U.S. allies in the Washington’s fight against militancy.

But their ties, already dogged by an old dispute over their border, have worsened in recent months because of Afghan accusations of Pakistani involvement in the rising tide of violence in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Monday Pakistani agents were behind recent violence, including a suicide car bomb attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul last week that killed 58 people.

Subsequently, the Afghan cabinet suspended a series of meetings with Pakistan on border cooperation and bilateral and regional economic cooperation, all scheduled for coming weeks.

“Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has strongly condemned the Afghan president’s statement,” said a statement released after Gilani met his cabinet in the eastern city of Lahore.

“Pakistan has provided all-out support for the establishment of stable government in Afghanistan.”

Afghan and NATO officials blame a sharp rise in violence in southern and eastern Afghanistan on Pakistan for failing to keep pressure on militants while conducting talks to persuade some Taliban factions to halt attacks.

Pakistani officials say Karzai has tried to deflect criticism of his own government’s failures to contain the insurgency nearly seven years after U.S.-backed forces drove the Taliban militia from power.

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