WASHINGTON, July 15: US President George W. Bush said on Tuesday that the United States would investigate US-installed Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s charge that Pakistani intelligence services were involved in a series of terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan.
At a nationally televised news conference, Mr Bush also endorsed the Afghan claim that Al Qaeda has entrenched itself in Pakistan.
“First of all, we’ll investigate his charge and we’ll work with his service to get to the bottom of his allegation,” said Mr Bush when asked for comments on Mr Karzai’s allegations.
Although the Afghan government has also implicated Pakistan in last week’s attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Mr Bush did not quote any specific incident in his news conference. Instead, he pointed out that extremists hiding in Pakistan’s tribal areas were entering Afghanistan for carrying out attacks.
“No question, however, that some extremists are coming out of parts of Pakistan into Afghanistan. … Al Qaeda is — they’re there,” he said. “And that’s troubling to us, it’s troubling to Afghanistan, and it should be troubling to Pakistan. We share a common enemy.”President Bush did not implicate Pakistani government agencies in the attacks but he reminded Pakistani rulers that the extremists were as much a threat to them as to the Afghans.
Such extremists, he said, used violence to either disrupt democracy or prevent democracy from taking hold.
The United States, he said, had been fighting the extremists with Pakistan’s help and would continue to do so. “We have hurt Al Qaeda hard -— hit them hard and hurt them around the world, including in Pakistan,” he said. “And we will continue to keep the pressure on Al Qaeda with our Pakistan friends.”
Mr Bush said he hoped that that the government understood the dangers of extremists moving in their country. “I think they do. As a matter of fact, we’ll have an opportunity to explore that further … with the prime minister of Pakistan” when he visits the White House later this month.
“Pakistan is an ally. Pakistan is a friend. And I repeat all three countries — the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan — share a common enemy.”
Mr Bush recalled hosting a dinner for President Karzai and President Pervez Musharraf at the White House in September 2006 when relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan were very tense and noted that the meeting led to a better coordination between America’s two key allies in the war against terror.
“I remember very well the meeting I had at the White House with President Musharraf and President Karzai, and we talked about the need for cross- border cooperation to prevent dangerous elements from training and coming into Afghanistan — and then, by the way, returning home with a skill level that could be used against the government,” he said. “And, you know, there was some hopeful progress made. Obviously, it’s still a tough fight there.”
Referring to the defeat of religious parties in the NWFP in the February election, Mr Bush said: “We were heartened by the provincial elections in that part of the world.”
The United States, he said, would continue to work to help the Pakistan government to deal with extremists and have an effective counter-insurgency strategy that used aid to foster economic development.
“And that’s a challenge. And the three of us working together can deal with the challenge a lot better than if we don’t work together,” he concluded.