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Pakistan blames security woes on India

Pakistan has in the past alleged that India was using its consulates in Afghanistan for "terrorist activities" in Pakistan.

india Updated: Apr 18, 2006 14:21 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service

Indian consulates in Afghanistan are a matter of concern for Pakistan, according to a senior minister who also dubbed the activities of Taliban in the border regions a threat to national security.

At a cabinet meeting on the situation in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghanistan, Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao said the Indian consulates were "a matter of concern", the Daily Times reported.

Besides the embassy in Kabul, India has four consulates in Afghanistan of which Jalalabad and Kandahar are close to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Pakistan has in the past alleged that India was using its consulates in Afghanistan for "terrorist activities" in Pakistan.

At the same time, Sherpao said the "Talibanisation" of North and South Waziristan areas where domestic and foreign terrorist groups were operating was a threat to Pakistan's national security.

"The people are being fooled in the name of nationalism and jihad. Religious extremism, militancy and terrorism are continuously undermining Pakistan's image in the international community," he was as quoted saying in the Daily Times.

Pakistan has been accused of nurturing the remnants of the hardline Taliban, which ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, and of sheltering the Al Qaeda mercenaries on its territory.

From time to time, under US pressure, Pakistan has caught and handed over foreign terrorists, especially to the US. On Monday it did that to an alleged Al Qaeda militant of Turkish origin to Ankara.

Pakistani authorities captured Muhammad Yousaf January 28 in South Waziristanon pm suspicion of being a Al-Qaeda operative and detained him for two months.

Sherpao told the cabinet that Taliban forces had killed 150 pro-government tribal chiefs in the North and South Waziristan and were challenging the writ of the government by engaging security forces in the area.

"The Taliban's sphere of influence has expanded to Dera Ismail Khan, Tank and the Khyber Agency. There has been a sharp increase in attacks on heavily defended military targets in these areas," he said.

He said the government had adopted a two-pronged strategy.

"The government, on one hand, is focusing on socio-economic development and political dialogue while on the other it is utilising its military options as well," he said.

First Published: Apr 18, 2006 14:21 IST