Karzai`s remarks draw rebuke in Afghanistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai had stated that his country would back Pak if the US and Pakistan ever went to war.

Last Updated: Oct 24, 2011, 00:13 AM IST

Kabul: Afghan President Hamid Karzai`s
statement that his country would back Islamabad if the US and
Pakistan ever went to war drew a sharp rebuke on Sunday from
Afghan lawmakers who claimed the country`s top officials were
adopting hypocritical positions.

The scenario is exceedingly unlikely and appears to be
less a serious statement of policy than an Afghan overture to
Pakistan, just days after Karzai and US. Secretary of State
Hillary Rodham Clinton said Islamabad must do more to crack
down on militants using its territory as a staging ground for
attacks on Afghanistan.

"If fighting starts between Pakistan and the US, we are
beside Pakistan," Karzai said is an interview with private
Pakistani television station GEO that aired yesterday.

"If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need
Afghanistan`s help, Afghanistan will be there with you."

He said that Kabul would not allow any nation, including
the US, to dictate its policies.

Both Washington and Kabul have repeatedly said Pakistan
is providing sanctuary to militant groups launching attacks in
Afghanistan.

The comments set off a firestorm of criticism in the
country. Afghan lawmakers argued they were particularly
hypocritical coming just weeks after the assassination of
former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani by a suicide
bomber.

While it is unclear who masterminded Rabbani`s killing,
the Afghan government has said it was planned in the Pakistani
city of Quetta, the Taliban leadership`s suspected base. In
addition, the Afghan interior minister accused the Pakistani
intelligence service of being involved, a claim that has not
been substantiated.

"Pakistan has never been honest with Afghanistan, and the
nation of Afghanistan will never forget those things that
happen here" because of Pakistan, Shah Gul Rezaye, a lawmaker
from Ghazni province told The Associated Press, citing
Rabbani`s death and other incidents of violence.

"They make deal with terrorists, and then with the
international community ... to get USD 1 billion from the US
under the name of the struggle against terrorism," she said.

The US Embassy in Kabul said it was up to the Afghan
government to explain Karzai`s remarks.

"This is not about war with each other," Embassy
spokesman Gavin Sundwall said.

"This is about a joint approach to a threat to all three
of our countries: insurgents and terrorists who attack
Afghans, Pakistanis, and Americans."

PTI