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No anti-Pak activities in Afghanistan: Karzai

Source: PTI
February 16, 2006 20:00 IST
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Rejecting Pakistan's allegation that Indian consulates in Afghanistan fuelled militancy in Balochistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that his country would never allow any such thing against a 'brotherly' Muslim country.

Karzai, who arrived in Islamabad on Wednesday night on a two-day visit, stated this after holding extensive talks with President Pervez Musharraf.

Afghanistan's close ties with India would in no way impact Kabul's ties with Islamabad, Karzai told a joint press conference with Musharraf on Wednesday night.

"I assure (you) that our relations with India in no way will impact our ties with Pakistan. We are joined together like twins, nothing can come between us," he said, replying to a question.

Senior Pakistani leaders, including Musharraf himself, had alleged in the recent past that there was foreign hand behind violence in Balohistan and also claimed that India provided financial assistance to Baloch nationalist rebels.

The rebels have been demanding more autonomy and are opposed to the construction of Pakistan army cantonments in the province.

Pakistan formally protested to India in December over New Delhi's statement expressing concern over the human rights situation in Balochistan. However, Islamabad has not conveyed its allegations to India nor forwarded any evidence, which it claimed to have.

Much of Thursday's talks between Musharraf and Karzai centred around Afghanistan's allegations that Taliban militants continued to infiltrate from Pakistan to fight with Afghan and international security assistance forces there.

About countering terrorism, Musharraf said both Pakistan and Afghanistan were part of the international coalition fighting the menace and were also jointly tackling it.

"It is a joint fight by Pakistan and Afghanistan as the evil is afflicting both the countries. Intelligence agencies and armed forces of the two countries should work together to uproot terrorism, which is our common enemy," he said.

Pakistan looked forward to all cooperation to fight terrorism in their respective areas, he said, adding both Pakistan and Afghanistan must progress together.

Replying to a question, Musharraf said Pakistan has deployed 82,000 troops on its border with Afghanistan. Of these, 600 have laid down their lives. It was the biggest contribution made by any nation in the fight against terrorism, he said.

Karzai said both Pakistan and Afghanistan have to progress and move forward together, while Musharraf expressed satisfaction over the volume of trade that had risen to $1.2 billion and was still rising.

They said the two sides have agreed to jointly fight terrorism to strengthen regional peace and security.

 The two leaders also condemned the publication of cartoons of Prophet Mohammad in European newspapers, saying that nobody had the right to hurt sentiments of Muslims in the name of press freedom. They also urged world leaders to condemn the act.

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