Afghanistan today accused Pakistan of refusing to cooperate with investigations into the killing of Kabul government peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani.
"Today we received a message from the embassy of Pakistan saying that since this issue has arisen in media, we cannot cooperate and we apologise for that," said Mohammad Yasin Zia, deputy head of the National Directorate of Security (NDS) intelligence agency.
He said Afghan investigators wanted to meet the head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), General Shuja Pasha, "but they didn't show any interest." Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have long been characterised by mutual suspicion, but tensions have been rising over accusations of responsibility for cross-border attacks and insurgent attacks.
Pakistani officials were not immediately reachable for comment, but Islamabad this week rejected allegations from Afghan Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi that the ISI was linked to Rabbani's assassination. Rabbani's killing in Kabul on September 20 has prompted President Hamid Karzai to reconsider his strategy for talking peace with the Taliban.
In a televised address yesterday, Karzai condemned Pakistan's "double game" on terrorism in Afghanistan. Many Afghans are suspicious of Pakistan's connections to the Taliban-led insurgency in their country. "After all the destruction and misery, the double game towards Afghanistan and the use of terrorism as an excuse still continues," Karzai said.
"Pakistan has not supported our efforts to bring peace and security to Afghanistan, which is very unfortunate."
But despite this condemnation, Karzai nonetheless restated the view that negotiations had to go through Pakistan in order to get to the Taliban. The NDS, Afghanistan's intelligence service, said it had handed evidence in Rabbani's killing to Pakistani officials to take action last Thursday.
It has also alleged that the killer was a Pakistani and the attack was planned in the Pakistani town of Quetta. Pakistan has questioned the evidence provided to its embassy in Kabul, and described Rabbani as a great friend of Pakistan, who was widely respected in the country.