Pakistan, Afghanistan trade accusations at UN over extremist havens

UNITED NATIONS: Afghanistan and Pakistan traded accusations in the UN Security Council on Thursday over the whereabouts of extremists on their porous border as the United Nations described increased tensions between the neighbors as “unfortunate and dangerous.”

Afghanistan's UN envoy, Zahir Tanin, told a council debate on the situation in Afghanistan that “terrorist sanctuaries continue to exist on Pakistan's soil and some elements continue to use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy.”

Pakistan's UN ambassador, Masood Khan, said “terrorists operate on both sides of the porous border” and that many attacks against Pakistan were planned on Afghan soil. He said aggressive policing and border surveillance were needed.

“We must not allow terrorists to manipulate and divide the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Khan told the council.

“When President Karzai meets our leadership he's most gracious, engaging, he's a statesman, but when he talks to the media he says things which inflame sentiment and that's most unhelpful and destabilising,” Khan said. “We have given very restrained responses.”

Pakistan's military played a key role in convincing Afghan Taliban leaders to hold talks with the United States, US and Pakistani officials said, although Afghan anger at fanfare over the opening of the Taliban's Qatar office this week has since delayed preliminary discussions.

“We were talking to multiple interlocutors behind the scenes and we have been asking them to participate in these talks, (telling them) that we think the war should come to an end,” Khan told Reuters.

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