Washington, June 27 : United States Defence Secretary Robert Gates has blamed Pakistan for increase in violence in east Afghanistan, and said that Islamabad has failed to put pressure on Taliban and other insurgents to cross its border with Afghanistan after a peace deal.
"It actually was not bad until a few months ago but became grave after the Pakistan Government began negotiating peace or ceasefire deals with a variety of militant groups in areas bordering Afghanistan.
"The pressure was taken off these people as a result of such deals," The Daily Times quoted Gates, as saying.
As the pressure relents, these fighters feel free to cross the border and create problems for us, he added.
Violence in the region has risen 40 per cent in the first five months of 2008, despite presence of a record 70,000 multinational troops in Afghanistan, some under US command, some under the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
The issue "needs to be addressed with the Pakistani government," he said.
The NATO commanders in Afghanistan have expressed fears that the Tribal Areas could become sanctuaries for militants engaged in cross-border attacks after Pakistan entered peace talks with the Taliban.
Pakistani officials have said the peace agreements state specifically that the militants should desist from crossing into Afghanistan to fight.