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Kabul assails ‘Taliban appeasement’

May 21, 2008

KABUL, May 20: Afghanistan’s foreign minister has said Pakistan’s policy of “appeasing” the Taliban is dangerous, reiterating concerns that peace talks between Islamabad and militants would see more cross-border attacks.

Pakistan’s government is in negotiations with Taliban militants along its tribal belt, from where Afghan and Western officials allege the insurgents plot and organise attacks in Afghanistan including against foreign troops.

“Anyone thinking that they are able to reach peace in the region through what we call an appeasement policy — we consider it is a wrong and dangerous policy,” Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta told reporters.

A peace deal with the Pakistani Taliban in 2006 reportedly led to a spike in violence across the border.

Describing the 2006 deal as bad for Afghanistan, Spanta said the government was “extremely and infinitely concerned” about Islamabad’s moves, which officials in Pakistan say have seen troops redeployed in the tribal zone.

He cited media reports as saying the Taliban wanted peace in Pakistan so they would be able to continue jihad in Afghanistan.

“As the victim of terrorism, we have the right to say we’re concerned,” the minister said, adding Kabul had spoken of its fears with Islamabad and Washington.—AFP