NATO urged to eliminate terrorist centres abroad

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

KABUL - A spokesman for the Afghan ministry of defence said Wednesday that security would not be achieved in Afghanistan unless NATO eliminates “terrorist sanctuaries” abroad.

“We believe that until the funding, training, equipping and staging centres for the terrorists are not eliminated outside of Afghanistan, security will not be established in Afghanistan or in the region,” General Zahir Azimi told reporters.

Azimi’s comment came after the New York Times reported Tuesday that US military commanders were pushing for ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas, where Taliban active in Afghanistan are thought to be based.

Asked whether the Afghan government supported such raids, Azimi said: “The stance of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is that we support the elimination of terrorist sanctuaries.”

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force said in a statement Tuesday that it was not contemplating such actions, and had “developed a strong working relationship with the Pakistani military to address shared security issues”.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani earlier this month said in Kabul that his country was “equally suffering from the militants and the extremists”, adding that joint efforts were needed to tackle the common threats.

In his Afghan war review report last week, US President Barack Obama said that his country “will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with”.

Attacks by US drones on suspected insurgents in Pakistan have seen a substantial increase this year. The attacks have attracted criticism and outraged the Pakistani public due to alleged civilian casualties.

Nearly 150,000 international personnel are based in Afghanistan, fighting the Taliban insurgency in its ninth year.

Filed under: Terrorism

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