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New Afghan Foreign Minister Chides Pakistan

Afghan Foreign Minister Spanta (file photo) (AFP) PRAGUE, May 15, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Afghanistan's new foreign minister, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan (RFA) today that Pakistan is not doing enough to catch Taliban leaders.

The statement is likely to reignite a long-running war of words between Kabul and Islamabad, who have accused each other of intelligence and political failures in countering terrorism and insurgency in the region amid continuing violence in Afghanistan.

Spanta made his comments in an exclusive interview today with RFA.

"I'd mainly like [to emphasize] that although Pakistan has arrested several Al-Qaeda leaders, there has not been any significant action to arrest Taliban leaders," he said.

Spanta added that he has invited his Pakistani counterpart to visit Afghanistan for talks on issues of mutual interest.

Spanta also said that Afghanistan is ready to play a role in helping to reduce tensions between the United States and neighboring Iran over Tehran's nuclear activities.