Pak accuses Kabul of overreaction

Last Updated: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 23:49

Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday accused Afghanistan of overreacting after Kabul cancelled a military visit to protest cross-border shelling, saying such joint activities were crucial for building trust between the two countries.
"Cancelling of the visit by Afghan military officials seems to be an over-reaction. Such joint activities are meant to build trust and confidence and promote relations," Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said.

Pakistan hoped that Afghanistan would avail of opportunities like military visits "in the larger interest of building peace in the region", Chaudhry told a weekly news briefing in response to a question about Kabul`s decision to cancel a visit by a team of Afghan National Army officers who were to participate in a military exercise in Quetta.

Afghanistan announced yesterday that it had called off the visit over "unacceptable Pakistani artillery shelling" of parts of Kunar province on Monday and Tuesday.

However, Chaudhry said Pakistani troops had responded to "some intrusion from the Afghan side".

The response was done in a "disciplined and responsible manner", he said.

"There was no artillery shelling from Pakistani side. They (troops) were very modest in responding to the intrusion," he said.

The governor of the Afghan province of Kunar, Fazlulah Wahidi, said up to 50 rockets fired from Pakistan had damaged property.

The incident reflected the continuing tensions between the two sides, analysts said.

Relations between Islamabad and Kabul had recently improved and British Prime Minister David Cameron hosted a trilateral summit on February 4 as part of efforts to boost the peace process in Afghanistan.

Since then, there have been a series of accusations and disagreements between Afghan and Pakistani officials.

Foreign Office spokesman Chaudhry said Islamabad believes that Pakistan and Afghanistan "have to work together in harmony to promote peace not only in Afghanistan but for the whole region".

Pakistan would continue to make its good offices available for bringing peace, reconciliation and stability in Afghanistan.

"We are engaged with Afghanistan at every level, from the leadership to working levels," he said.

Islamabad also has concerns about the presence of "safe havens" of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan in Kunnar and Nuristan regions of Afghanistan.

"We have taken up this matter with Afghan authorities. We hope that these safe havens from which incursions into Pakistan take place will be eliminated," Chaudhry said.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 23:49

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