Pak has to stop Taliban's spread: UN

Tom Koenigs said Pak knows it must prevent the spread of the Taliban militia inside its territory and Afghanistan.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2006 12:47 IST

Pakistan knows it must prevent the spread of the Taliban militia inside its territory and in neighboring Afghanistan, a top UN official said on Thursday.

Tom Koenigs also said soaring international tensions over Iran's contentious nuclear program should not spoil relations between Kabul and Tehran.

US officials declined immediate comment on the remark.

Afghan-Pakistan relations soured recently amid Kabul's accusations that Pakistan was doing too little to stop Al-Qaeda militants hiding on its side of the border from crossing into Afghanistan to attack Afghan and US-led coalition troops.

Koenigs, who recently visit Islamabad for talks with top Pakistani officials, said Pakistan had a "growing commitment to stability in the region."

"The government of Pakistan is aware that they have to prevent a Talibanisation of Afghanistan and Pakistan," Koenigs said during a news conference in the capital.

Afghanistan and Pakistan must learn to solve their often volatile disputes in private, rather than in the public domain, particularly over security cooperation on their porous border where Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants are hiding, the UN official said.

The relations between the Asian neighbors deteriorated in February after Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave Pakistan a list of Taliban figures hiding inside Pakistan and the locations of alleged terrorist training camps.

After Afghan officials publicised that they had shared the intelligence, Musharraf retorted that the information was outdated and maintained that Pakistan -- a former supporter of the Taliban militia -- was doing all it could to stop militants from launching cross-border attacks.

On Iran, Koenigs said he would visit Tehran soon to promote stronger cooperation with Afghanistan, particularly on security, economic development and the return of Afghan refugees.

His comments come one day before a United Nations Security Council deadline for Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment activities, which the United States claims is part of a clandestine program to build a nuclear bomb.

First Published: Apr 27, 2006 15:59 IST