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Afghan Army Chief Says Pakistan Could End War Soon

  • RFE/RL

A Pakistani Army vehicle drives past a poster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad.

A Pakistani Army vehicle drives past a poster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad.

Afghanistan's top general says Pakistan could end the the war in his country "in weeks."

In an interview broadcast on the BBC on July 3, General Sher Mohammad Karimi said that Pakistan controlled the Taliban and Islamabad could do more to promote a nascent peace process.

Karimi urged sincere cooperation between the two countries to tackle the Taliban insurgencies in both nations.

"Now Pakistan is suffering internally from terrorists as much as [Afghanistan does]," Karimi said. "We can both do together to fight this menace provided that [everyone is] sincere in what they're doing."

On July 2, Karimi told the Afghan parliament that religious schools, or madrasahs, provide a constant stream of fighters for the Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan has closed the madrasahs and has asked the students to go to Afghanistan and intensify the war," Karimi said.

"Our enemy does not wear a uniform -- they do not wear something particular -- so we cannot identify them. The only way [to identify them] is if they are armed and we see their arms, so that we can identify them. Or, we can have an intelligence about them, so we can act against them."

Pakistan Denies Everything

Pakistan, however, has "categorically rejected" Karimi's remarks.

In a statement on July 3, Pakistan's Foreign Office said that "the allegations that Pakistan 'controls' the Taliban and has 'unleashed' them on Afghanistan have no basis."

Afghan leaders have long decried what they describe as Pakistani double-dealing. They see Islamabad supporting Western counterterrorism efforts while supporting the Afghan Taliban insurgents.

Afghan officials argue that Islamabad has never abandoned supporting the movement after becoming the principal foreign backer of the Taliban regime in the 1990s.

They believe the hard-line movement's leaders and members still operate from Pakistani sanctuaries.

With reporting by BBC, AFP, and RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan