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Rahmat Gul/AP
Afghan President Hamid Karzai gestures during a press conference at the presidential
palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, June 15, 2008.

Karzai Draws Rebuke, Praise for Pakistan Threat

June 16, 2008 01:34 PM
by Josh Katz
Pakistani officials have chastised Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s statement that he would send forces into Pakistan; some Afghans have shown support for their president’s comments.

30-Second Summary

On Sunday, Karzai said his nation may pursue militants on the other side of the border. “Afghanistan has the right of self-defense when they [the militants] cross territories,” Karzai stated. “It exactly gives us the right to go back and do the same.”

Karzai’s remarks came on the heels of a successful large-scale raid by insurgents in Kandahar on Friday. The militants, who Afghan officials believe came from Pakistan, freed more than 1,000 prisoners from the southern Afghan prison.

His statement also followed last week’s controversial U.S. air strike into Pakistani territory, resulting in the deaths of 11 Pakistani troops. Pakistan considered the raid to be a violation of its sovereignty.

Today, Pakistan responded to Karzai’s declaration, saying, “it was all the more necessary that Afghanistan refrained from making irresponsible threatening statements” at a time when the two countries needed to work together against the opposition.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the Pakistani Taliban movement, shot back at Afghanistan, calling Karzai’s words “sick” and the “creation of a baffled mind.” The TTP also said the statement would revitalize the Taliban resistance.

President George W. Bush separated himself from Karzai’s remarks, but at the same time stressed the importance that Pakistan take a harder line against the insurgents in the tribal regions and resist the militants just as Afghanistan has done.

About 2,000 Afghan tribesmen and religious leaders convened in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika in support of Karzai. One tribal chief said, “Pakistanis are coming to Afghanistan and we have evidence.”

See Reuters coverage

Headline Link: ‘Pakistan Rebukes Karzai over Cross-Border Raids’

Reactions: Taliban, Bush, Pakistan and Afghans respond to Karzai’s words

Background: Attack on Kandahar prison; the troubled tribal regions

Opinion & Analysis: The battle against the insurgents, and the importance of respecting Pakistan’s sovereignty


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