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Musharraf accuses Afghan of lowering Pak image

Written by: Staff

Washington, March 06: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has accused neighbouring Afghanistan of blaming his country for not being able to arrest the most wanted al Qaeda leader Osama bin-Laden, even after four years of 9/11 terror attack on the US.

Gen Musharraf alleged that there were ''some agents'' in the Afghan government that are intentionally trying to defame his country's image.

''I am totally disappointed with their intelligence, and I feel there is a very, very deliberate attempt to malign Pakistan, by some agents, '' he said.

Appearing on CNN's ''Late Edition'' programme yesterday, agitated Gen Musharraf said Afghan President Hamid Karzai was out of touch and ''totally oblivious of what is happening in his own country''.

''Therefore, I would say he should pull up his intelligence. He should pull up his Ministry of Defence,'' he added.

Gen Musharraf was specially furious over an Associated Press report that President Karzai had given Islamabad the intelligence information suggesting that former Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and his associates were hiding in Pakistan.

The report also added that Afghanistan gave Pakistan the information about the locations of alleged terrorist training camps along the border between the two countries.

''I am really surprised and shocked why they have disclosed this to the media,'' Gen Musharraf told CNN.

''We've already gone through the list. Two-thirds of it is months old, and is outdated, and there is nothing,'' he said, adding there was a list of telephone numbers, many of which are out dated.

''Even the CIA knows about it, because we are sharing all this information with them,'' he added.

''The location that they are talking of Mullah Omar is nonsense.

There's nobody there.'' the President.

He also accused Mr Karzai of ''waiting for a presidential visit to hand me over this list'', referring to US President George W Bush's visit to both nations last week.

Saudi-born Laden, is believed to be hiding in the mountain region near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. There have been frequent clashes on both sides of the border with suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

During Mr Bush's trip to South Asia, where he stopped in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, he noted both countries are involved in efforts to catch Osama bin Laden.

As both Pakistan and Afghanistan are working to strengthen their relationships with the United States, Laden's whereabouts and the efforts to find him can sometimes be a sensitive subject.

Tension between the two leaders, both key US allies in the effort to crush al Qaeda, has developed ''in the last one or two months,'' according to Pakistani President.

Recent media reports had said Afghan intelligence agents believe Laden was hiding in the Pakistani territory.


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