Kabul, July 28 : Former Canadian ambassador Chris Alexander, who is now serving as a UN deputy special representative in Afghanistan, says he believes Kabul when it says that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency is sending terrorists across the border to create instability.
"We have to ask ourselves, was Karzai right on this point?" Alexander said in an interview. "I think the answer is yes."
While many foreign officials and analysts have privately endorsed Karzai's view of the ISI, Mr. Alexander is the first Western diplomat to back the accusation in public.
"If we support him as President of Afghanistan, and we support the cause of peace and security in Afghanistan, we should be prepared to speak lucidly about these issues as well, and not be given pause or forced to back down simply because there's a reaction from someone who, quite frankly, is speaking for the spoilers," the Globe and Mail quoted Alexander, as saying.
"Let's have some international courage on this front," he added.
Western diplomats have previously said they tread carefully with Pakistan in part because of the country's fragile politics, its mistrust of foreign pressure and its nuclear arsenal.
When asked how Islamabad might react to blunt accusations of waging a proxy war, Alexander shrugged. "I'm not sure, but there's only one way to find out. The project on which we're embarked - with its high stakes, with its serious investment, with its sacrifices - deserves at least that level of courage with regard to this issue. Otherwise we really are pretending that Niagara Falls doesn't flow."
Islamabad has consistently denied using intelligence services to interfere in Afghanistan.
Pakistan's intelligence services are widely believed to have helped create the Taliban in 1994 and to have shepherded the movement toward its takeover of nearly all of Afghanistan.
It formally cut ties with the Taliban in 2001, under U.S. pressure, but rumours of assistance received by Taliban insurgents in the lawless border region have persisted for years.
Members of the military establishment in Pakistan have argued that supporting Islamic militants can give their country a supply of irregular forces if needed against India, and prevent Pakistan from being squeezed on two fronts in the event of a war.