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Kabul told to share intelligence on Taliban

August 23, 2003

KABUL, Aug 22: Pakistan on Friday called on Kabul to share intelligence to help thwart the Talibans’ stepped-up insurgency in Afghanistan.

“There have been incidents in other parts of Afghanistan... very far away from our border with Afghanistan,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri said at the conclusion of a two-day visit to Kabul.

“Surely they are not being done because the ISI or the government of Pakistan is turning a blind eye,” he said, referring to Afghan accusations against Pakistan’s military Inter Services Intelligence agency.

“They happen despite the efforts of governments to contain them and they happen in Europe, America, Asia.”

Mr Kasuri said both countries needed to share intelligence more actively to thwart the attacks.

“There is a need for much greater interaction between the intelligence agencies of the two countries so that some things can be pre-empted and some misunderstandings (avoided),” Kasuri told a press conference in the Pakistan embassy.

“Because if you (the Afghans) have prior knowledge you can share it with us or they can share it with the (US intelligence agency) CIA but it will be much better if they share it with us directly.”

Mr Kasuri declared Islamabad was fully behind Kabul’s post-Taliban administration.

Mr Kasuri said the visit has helped the two countries to have a better understanding of the positions of their respective governments.

Replying to a question, the minister dismissed the allegations of Pakistani troops having made intrusion into the Afghan territory and referred to the recent meeting of tri-partite sub-commission which found such reports as unfounded.

“It is not in our interest to destabilize the government of President Karzai, we supported openly, our support for the Bonn process is unwavering,” he added.

To preempt and prevent such allegations, the minister said he has suggested to make more use of the tri-partite commission.

He said, he had underlined the need during his meeting with the Afghan leadership, for having more close and direct interaction between the intelligence agencies of the two countries.

Relying to a question, he said Pakistan was committed to the reconstruction of Afghanistan.

He said unlike other countries, Pakistan’s support might not be as visible but have definitely helped to improve the life of the Afghan people.

“We want to help the Afghan people and don’t want to make it a point that we are helping,” he added.

The foreign minister said Pakistan has offered Afghanistan full use of Karachi and Gwadar ports.

Already, as part of under a $100 million assistance pledged by Pakistan, 50,000 tones of wheat, 12,000 tons of fertilizer and 10,000 tons of sugar have been provided to Afghanistan.

Mr Kasuri announced that the Pakistan government and its foreign affairs ministry would build four secondary-level schools in Afghanistan and would gift them to the Afghan foreign ministry.

The Pakistan government, he said, also plans to set up a kidney hospital and medical clinics in Afghanistan.

The minister said, the work on the train track from Chaman to Spin Bouldak and onward to Kandahar would also help Afghanistan’s trade to and from the Central Asian states.

He assured that work on the Torkham-Jalalabad road would be expedited.

Meanwhile, Pakistan and Afghanistan have agreed to increase number of flights as part of efforts to enhance people-to-people contact between the two countries, official sources said.

The understanding to this effect has been reached during meeting of Mr Kasuri and Mr Abdullah.

Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah while talking to reporters after meeting with Mr Kasuri had stated that people of the two countries wanted to have solid and constructive relations with each other.

Mr Kasuri returned to Islamabad on Friday after his official visit to Afghanistan.—AFP/APP