NATO says it will not launch raids in Pakistan

Updated on Sep 12, 2008 01:04 AM IST

The alliance spokesman says that there are no ground or air incursions by NATO forces into Pakistani territory.

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AP | By, Brussels

NATO troops in Afghanistan will not launch raids into Pakistan, the alliance spokesman said on Thursday.

"It is not NATO that will be sending its forces across the border," spokesman James Appathurai told a news conference. The mandate of the 47,000-strong NATO force in Afghanistan stops at the border, he said.

"There are no ground or air incursions by NATO forces into Pakistani territory," he said.

He spoke to reporters amid Pakistani criticism of a cross-border ground assault last week by United States forces and a barrage of suspected US missile strikes in Pakistan. The United States maintains a counterterrorism force of several thousand in Afghanistan operating outside the NATO mission.

NATO officials have blamed militants based in Pakistan for growing violence in eastern Afghanistan recently and complained that Pakistani authorities have not done enough to clamp down on them.

"The solution to the tension across the border, or on these cross-border issues is first and foremost a solution to the growing extremism," Appathurai said.

The threat posed by safe havens in Pakistan for militants will likely be discussed at a meeting of allied defense ministers next week in London, but the ministers are not expected to authorise attacks in Pakistan.

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