Unstable Kabul not in Pak's interests: Karzai

The Taliban-led insurgency that is hindering Kabul's progress also hinders Pak's prosperity, Karzai told members of Pakistan National Defence College.
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Updated on Feb 17, 2006 02:54 PM IST
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None | ByAgence France-Presse, Islamabad

It is in Pakistan's interest to root out support for insurgents from Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime living on Pakistani soil, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said on Thursday.

The four-year-old Taliban-led insurgency that is hindering progress in Afghanistan also hinders Pakistan's prosperity, Karzai told members of the Pakistan National Defence College on the second day of a state visit.

"What is the strategic debt of Pakistan say vis-a-vis Afghanistan?" he asked.

"Is it to prop up a Taliban government and spend money on it and spend resources on it and waste their economy, their resources then get nothing from it?

"Then the most negative fall-out is extremism bringing a terrible name to Islam, being a burden on your shoulders...," he said.

On the other hand, the prosperity that peace would bring to Afghanistan would benefit its neighbour, including with increased exports, he said.

"The poorer, the more in trouble Afghanistan, the poorer Pakistan. The stronger, the better, the more prosperous Afghanistan, the stronger, the more prosperous Pakistan," he said.

He rejected suggestions floated by Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf that the long and porous border between the two nations should be fenced off to prevent Islamic militants from moving across the frontier.

"Fencing is no solution. Finding roots of terrorism and violence, finding where they get trained, where they get equipped and start drying out the resources of their financial support is the solution," he said.

The insurgency launched after Afghanistan's Taliban government was toppled in late 2001 has become increasingly deadly, despite the efforts of tens of thousands of Afghan and foreign security forces.

Most of the violence -- which includes suicide attacks, car bombings and assassinations -- is attributed to remnants of Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime and their Al-Qaeda allies who fled into Pakistan when the hardliners were ousted.

Pakistan has deployed tens of thousands of regular troops on its lawless tribal areas bordering Afghanistan to prevent cross frontier infiltration.

It has lost around 600 soldiers in battles with Al-Qaeda linked militants over last three years.

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