Kabul objects to Pakistani missile names

Published February 23, 2006

KABUL, Feb 22: Afghanistan formally complained to Pakistan for naming its ballistic missiles and other weapons after historic Afghan heroes, a minister said here on Wednesday.

Afghan Information Minister Makhdom Raheen said that Kabul had recently sent a letter through its foreign ministry to Pakistan over the use of names of Afghan nation’s heroes, including Mohammed Ghauri, a 12th-century conqueror who ruled what is now Afghanistan and invaded areas in what is now India and Pakistan several times.

A series of Pakistan’s ballistic missiles is named after Ghauri, including a 1,500-kilometre-range nuclear-capable weapon.

“We asked them (Pakistan) not to use the names of great elders of Afghanistan on weapons of mass destruction or other war equipment,” Mr Raheen said. “These great elders played a major part in building national solidarity and in transferring science and knowledge from the homeland across southwest Asia.”

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam refused to comment or say whether it had received such a letter.

Afghanistan is also complaining about Pakistan’s use of the name of Ahmad Shah Abdali, an 18th century king who founded the powerful Durrani dynasty, on a weapon that Raheen did not identify. Abdali laid the foundations for the Pashtun tribal rule in Afghanistan.

Mr Raheen said Pakistan was welcome to use the names but only for peaceful things like memorials, monuments, conference rooms and historical places. — AP

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