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Karzai launches scathing attack on Pakistan

He says Pak had destroyed Afghanistan's "national institutions" in the period after Soviet withdrawal.

india Updated: Dec 15, 2006 10:26 IST

Using sharp language against Pakistan for fomenting terrorism in his country, President Hamid Karzai has made a no-holds barred attack on Islamabad from blood-soaked Kandahar, charging the southern neighbour with seeking to "enslave" Afghanistan.

He also said Pakistan had destroyed Afghanistan's "national institutions" in the period following the Soviet withdrawal when those who had cooperated in the fight against the former USSR had turned away.

In a 90-minute speech at Kandahar's Ahmad Shah Baba high school on Wednesday, punctuated by frequent applause from hundreds of listeners including a large student body, the President warned Pakistan that Afghanistan was no longer weak.

It had an elected government, he said and also noted that Afghanistan now enjoyed firm international support.

Kandahar in southern Afghanistan, bordering Pakistan, is the President's hometown which he had not visited for more than a year, setting tongues wagging as it and neighbouring province of Helmand are also the epicentres of Taliban extremist violence rocking the country.

In his speech, Karzai recalled that a series of suicide attacks had rocked the country just before Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri visited Kabul last Thursday. This, he said, was a coded message that Afghans should "surrender" to Pakistan, else they will be killed and defeated.

Resorting to nationalist rhetoric, he called on the students to turn the pages of Afghan history. He said Genghis Khan, Alexander, British colonialists and former Soviet Union had not succeeded in gaining control of Afghan soil. "Who do the Pakistanis fancy they are?" he said.

First Published: Dec 15, 2006 10:26 IST