US to probe Karzai’s charges
As a bill proposing tripling of non-military aid to Pakistan was introduced in the US Congress, President George W. Bush said Washington would investigate Kabul’s charges that Pakistan had a hand in recent terrorist attacks in Afghanistan.
“We'll investigate his (Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s) charge and we’ll work with his service to get to the bottom of his allegation,” Bush said at a White House news conference on Tuesday.
“No question, however, that some extremists are coming out of parts of Pakistan into Afghanistan,” he said. “And that’s troubling to us, it’s troubling to Afghanistan, and it should be troubling to Pakistan.”
Bush added that he would discuss the threat with Pakistan Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani when he visits US later this month.
The comments came as two senior senators on Thursday introduced a bipartisan legislation, which while proposing tripling of non-military aid to Pakistan to $7.5 billion over five years also links security aid, around $1 billion annually at present, to counter-terrorism performance.
“Our bill represents a genuine sea-change-one which will set the US-Pakistan policy on a safer and more successful course,” said its authors Joseph Biden, Democratic chairman of the Senate foreign relations committee, and Republican Richard Lugar.
The US provided Pakistan with more than $10.5 billion for military, economic, and development activities in the 2002-2007 period. An independent government audit found last month that military aid given to Pakistan was not properly accounted for.
The US presidential candidates, Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain, too have outlined plans to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan by making Pakistan the focus of the fight against Al Qaeda and Taliban.
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