Afghanistan accuses Pakistani intelligence of aiding cross-border terrorism
The heightened political tensions between the two allies in the war on terror has prompted US presidential hopefuls to focus on improving Afghanistan strategy.
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Pakistan is facing the heat on many diplomatic fronts. In the wake of the attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul, a meeting of the heads of the federal investigation agencies of India and Pakistan scheduled for this week has been canceled, according to Dawn, the leading Pakistani English-language daily.Skip to next paragraph
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But the Pakistan government has denied these allegations, arguing that Afghan lawmakers have no evidence to back up their claims. On Wednesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chided Mr. Karzai for implicating Pakistan in a series of terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, according to Reuters.
As a result of this verbal standoff, the focus of US politicians has turned from the war in Iraq to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Their renewed interest in the region is explained by an observation in the RAND report that the US will face "crippling, long-term consequences" if the militant presence in Pakistan is not eradicated.
Moreover, after an ambush on a US outpost in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday that killed nine US troops, there are increasing concerns about the US military's ability to contain Islamic insurgents in Afghanistan, reports the Associated Press.
Violence has been increasing in Afghanistan, and many people are questioning the operation, wondering whether the Taliban-led insurgency is gaining, rather than losing, momentum seven years after the fundamentalist Islamic regime was ousted by a U.S.-led invasion.
The BBC reported Wednesday that US and Afghan troops have abandoned the village where the attack took place Sunday.
A statement said the outpost had been temporary and that "regular patrols" in the area would be maintained.
Afghan police are continuing to fight insurgents after the pullout on Tuesday, local officials say.
The attack caused the biggest American loss of life in battle in Afghanistan since operations began in 2001.
US President Bush on Tuesday said the movement of militants from Pakistan to Afghanistan was a matter of concern and that the White House would investigate Mr. Karzai's allegations against the ISI, reports The News, a Pakistani English-language daily. Mr. Bush also emphasized that the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan must cooperate against their common enemy in the war on terror.
The worsening situation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border also led presidential hopefuls to prioritize the war in Afghanistan during speeches on proposed foreign-policy initiatives and the war in Iraq. Speaking in Albuquerque, N.M., Senator McCain suggested that the US military learn from its successes in Iraq and increase the number of troops in Afghanistan. He also indicated that, as president, he would appoint a special Afghanistan "czar" to coordinate policy there. He was, however, reluctant to elaborate on his plans for tackling the militant threat in Pakistan, saying that he would "not telegraph what his strategy would be as commander in chief toward this sensitive diplomatic and military problem," according to the New York-based The Sun.