Pakistan supporting terrorism: Afghan minister

July 4th, 2005

New Delhi: Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah Monday voiced concern over the infiltration of terrorists from Pakistan, and said the Kabul regime still needed international backing to survive.

"Extremism is in nobody's interest. Terrorism is a global menace. It must be fought together," the minister said at a talk at the India International Centre here.

"We are faced with security challenges posed by people crossing the border," he said, in a clear reference to Pakistan.

But he quickly added: "We need to work with Pakistan to overcome security challenges."

Afghanistan last month captured three men who, it alleged, were Pakistanis and had crossed over with the intention of assassinating US ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, who has since been appointed the envoy to Iraq.

Pakistan denied the allegation. With ties between Islamabad and Kabul turning frosty, the US stepped in to salvage the situation.

As to the whereabouts of Al Qaeda supremo Osama bin Laden and Taliban chief Mullah Omar, Abdullah stated: "They are outside Afghanistan."

Abdullah, who is on a three-day visit to India, said the stepped-up violence in the eastern and southern parts of his country was to be blamed on the Taliban and Al Qaeda who hoped to disrupt the reconstruction process.

The Taliban ruled Afghanistan from 1996 until late 2001 when it was ousted in a US-led invasion.

Abdullah thanked the international community for its political and monetary support in the reconstruction process in Afghanistan. But he said Kabul would continue to need international help.

India is among the top six contributors having pledged $500 million towards the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan in areas such as infrastructure, education, manpower training and healthcare.

Despite the support, the task of reconstruction was a mammoth one and presented many challenges, said Abdullah.

Abdullah, who arrived here Saturday night, has met External Affairs Minister K. Natwar Singh and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.