NATO Has 'Strong Reservations' About Pakistani Border Plans
Pakistani paramilitary troops guarding a checkpost on the Afghan border in North Waziristan (file photo) (epa)
January 17, 2007 -- The NATO-led force in Afghanistan says it has "strong reservations" about a Pakistani plan to fence and mine parts of the two countries' border.
NATO's spokesman in Kabul, Mark Laity, said the alliance wants to consider the "practicality and morality" of the plan, which has already drawn criticism from Afghanistan and the UN.
Pakistan proposed the security measures to restrict the movement of militants across the border, following Afghan accusations that Pakistan has failed to curb cross-border attacks.
In Brussels today, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Scheffer called on Pakistan to crack down on militants crossing the border into Afghanistan.
He also offered NATO help to Pakistan to make the border more watertight.
A NATO official said the alliance could provide "surveillance and protection equipment."
Afghanistan And Pakistan
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2005 (epa)
ACROSS A DIFFICULT BORDER. The contested border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is some 2,500 kilometers long and runs through some of the most rugged, inhospitable territory on Earth. Controlling that border and preventing Taliban militants from using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan is an essential part of the U.S.-led international coalition's strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Officials in Kabul have been pointing their fingers at Pakistan for some time, accusing Islamabad or intelligence services of turning a blind eye to cross-border terrorism targeting the Afghan central government. Many observers remain convinced that much of the former Taliban regime's leadership -- along with leaders of Al-Qaeda -- are operating in the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border region.... (more)