Pakistan's spy agency supporting terrorism "is not new" says Karzai

Other News Materials 10 August 2008 15:46 (UTC +04:00)

Afghan President Hamid Karzai repeated allegations Sunday that Pakistan's secret service was supporting the Taliban and their terrorist allies in fight against Afghan and international forces in his country, saying, "it is not something new."

Karzai, speaking at press conference at his fortified presidential place in Kabul, accused Pakistan's secret agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), for providing support to Taliban and their al- Qaeda associates in the fighting in Afghanistan, the dpa reported.

"The ISI involvement with terrorism is not something new," the president said, referring to the agency's alleged hands in the July 7 bombing at the Indian embassy in Kabul that killed at least 54 people, including two Indian diplomats.

Officials from Indian government and the US authorities have also hinted that ISI had helped the planning of the deadly attack, a claim Islamabad vehemently denies.

"Their (ISI) involvement may have been new for others," the president said, adding that his government had shared its concerns regarding ISI's support for militants, international communities and countries in the region "for a long time in the past."

Karzai said that Pakistani soldiers helped Taliban militants to reach to power in 1996 and they still had planned to keep Afghanistan as their "strategic depth" and install their "puppet government".

"We are ready to die for another one thousands years, but we don't want slavery," Karzai said, but stated that his government was ready to start a new round of talks with Pakistan.

"We want to live in peace and harmony with each other," the president said, adding, "It is not for the benefit of anyone to raise a snake, because it can turn anytime and bite its owner."

The relations between the two US allies on the war against terrorism have been on downward spiral, with Afghan officials accusing Islamabad of not doing enough to stop cross-border infiltration by militants from inside Pakistan.

Officials from the US-led coalition and NATO forces that together have around 70,000 troops in the country have recently openly said that Taliban-led militants were given safe havens in tribal areas of Pakistan, where they receive training, equipment and ideological instruction.

In order to overcome the bloody insurgency in the war-torn Afghanistan, Karzai said that he had always advised his international military allies to stop fighting the militants in Afghan villages and instead focus on "source of terrorism."

Pakistan so far has strongly rejected allowing international military troops in Afghanistan to cross over into Pakistani territory to pursue militants. It says it has deployed around 100,000 troops on its border with Afghanistan to clamp down on insurgents operating in the area.