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Afghanistan wants more Pakistan help on terrorism

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, June 6 (Reuters) Afghanistan wants more help from Pakistan in dealing with terrorism, which it blames for security problems in the southern part of the country, its foreign minister said on Tuesday.

Violence has surged in Afghanistan in recent weeks to its worst since the 2001 overthrow of the hardline Taliban government, and Afghan officials have alleged that al Qaeda and Taliban fighters were operating from Pakistan territory -- charges that Pakistan has rejected.

''Clearly we have a security problem in the south, but this is a cross-border problem because the sources of terrorism using terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy are outside of our borders,'' said Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta.

Spanta, speaking at a gathering in Tokyo sponsored by a foreign-affairs think tank, did not specify a nation but said last month that Taliban and al Qaeda leaders were organising the insurgency in Afghanistan from the safety of Pakistan.

''We need to have a friendly and peaceful relationship with all of our neighbours, and we hope that our brothers and sisters in Pakistan do more against terrorism,'' he said.

Spanta said the Taliban were not involved in last week's riots in the Afghan capital of Kabul, which erupted after a US military vehicle was involved in a fatal accident, and he acknowledged that local police forces had been caught off guard.

''The insurgency police were not ready for such a situation like that, but now the situation is under control.'' The United Nations said yesterday that Afghanistan's police force needs rapid reforms and that last week's violence, in which seven died in addition to the five killed in the accident, had damaged Afghanistan's reputation.

Taliban suicide car bomber today rammed a US coalition convoy in southeast Afghanistan, wounding some troops, the US military said.

Pakistan nurtured the Taliban when they emerged in the Afghan south in the early 1990s, but it officially cut support after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Still, remnants of the group as well as al Qaeda still have support among Pakistan's Islamist opposition parties as well as the Pashtun ethnic group.

Spanta said that the presence of foreign troops in his nation was essential for now despite the Kabul riots, which are seen as the worst anti-foreign upheaval in the city since the ouster of the Taliban.

''Now our national interest to have a secure, prosperous and democratic Afghanistan is linked with the presence of the soldiers,'' he added.

REUTERS DKS ND1532

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