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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
15 February 2006

AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN: Karzai in Pakistan to urge crackdown on cross border attacks

KABUL, 15 Feb 2006 (IRIN) - Afghan President Hamid Karzai has begun a two-day visit to Pakistan where he will discuss the recent upsurge in violence in southern and eastern Afghanistan blamed on Taliban militants, which Kabul believes is being organised from across the border in Pakistan, officials said on Wednesday.

Karzai is scheduled to meet President Pervez Musharraf and other senior Pakistani officials.

“During his visit the Afghan leader will [focus] on the issues of counter terrorism, ongoing insecurity along the porous border [with Pakistan], which is mainly infiltrated from the other [Pakistani] side,” Saimak Herawee, deputy presidential spokesman, told IRIN.

“Remnants of the ousted Taliban and those fuelling insecurity in the country are enjoying a comfortable and free life inside Pakistan,” Herawee noted.

Last year the country suffered 633 attacks in provinces close to the Pakistan border, according to Afghan officials in Kabul.

An insurgency launched after the hardline Taliban government was removed in 2001 has become increasingly deadly, despite the efforts of both Afghan and foreign security forces.

According to reliable sources, Afghan officials privately accuse Pakistan of failing to root out militants living on its territory or to stop them from crossing the border to launch attacks. Some Afghan officials also allege that suicide attacks - the most deadly of which killed more than 22 people in the border town of Spin Boldak in mid-January - are mostly carried out by foreign nationals based in Pakistan.

Karzai will address Pakistan's National Defence College on the regional dimensions of stability in Afghanistan and meet Pakistani entrepreneurs to encourage them to invest in the war-damaged neighbouring country.

Just hours ahead of Karzai’s arrival, Pakistan released some 560 Afghan nationals from a prison in the southern city of Karachi as a "goodwill gesture".

Insecurity remains a major problem in Afghanistan, with about 1,700 people killed last year in militant violence, making 2005 the deadliest year since 2001. The toll is double that of 2004.


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