Auckland, Aug.19 : Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd believes that the exit of Pervez Musharraf from the Pakistan presidency could pose problems for NATO operations in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Speaking in Auckland today ahead of the Pacific Island Forum in Nuie, Rudd said the ''key consideration'' for Australia was the affect of the decision would have on the continuing military campaign in Afghanistan.
''There are problems in terms of al-Qa'ida, we have problems in terms of the Taliban, we have problems in terms of the porous nature of the border,'' news.com.au quoted Rudd, as saying.
New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, speaking at the same press conference, said she was not surprised by Musharraf's decision to resign, and added that ''Pakistan is going through a process of change.''
The comments by the two leaders echo concerns raised early today by Australia's Foreign Minister, Stephen Smith, who was concerned about what implications for Australia's troops in Afghanistan.
"What we now need to see from Pakistan is political stability, and that's very important, because in the Pakistan, Afghanistan area, is where in our view the current hot bed of international terrorism is,'' he told Sydney Radio 2GB.
"We've got over 1000 troops in Afghanistan, in Oruzgan Province, in areas abutting the Pakistan, Afghanistan border regions, so it has very important consequences for the safety of our troops there,'' he added.