KABUL: Afghanistan's national security adviser has called on the Pakistani government to "take serious measures" against militant groups launching attacks on Afghan targets from secure havens inside Pakistan.
Rangin Dadfar Spanta spoke to AFP in an interview a week after the Al-Jazeera television network said Afghan President Hamid Karzai had met the man who runs the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani network in talks mediated by Pakistan.
Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Taliban all deny any such meeting. Spanta's comments signal an about-turn by the Afghan government after months of overtures to Islamabad in efforts to prompt Pakistan to deal with militant groups, including al Qaeda and the Taliban based along the Afghan border. Spanta told AFP on Monday that Afghanistan had "tremendous evidence" that Pakistani authorities allowed al Qaeda and other terror organisations to operate on the country's soil and had presented it to Islamabad "many times".
Islamabad had failed to act against the groups based in Pakistan's tribal areas on the Afghan border, he told AFP. "My expectation is that Pakistan after nine years -- because theoretically Pakistan is part of the anti-terror alliance -- they have to begin to take some serious measures against terrorism," he said. "They have to hand over the leadership of the terrorist groups, they have to give a list of the people they have arrested and are holding in the detention centres in Pakistan. "We have evidence that the terrorists from Pakistan are involved in daily attacks against our people and international 'jihadi' groups are active here. They have their base and sanctuaries behind our border and this is a serious problem. We have to address the menace of terrorism," Spanta said.
Karzai had been seen as trying to reach an arrangement with Pakistan -- possibly including a power-sharing deal with the Taliban -- that would help bring an end to the war in Afghanistan, now in its ninth year.
This was also seen as a way of giving Pakistan a stake in Afghanistan's future, despite broad opposition among the Afghan politicians and public. Senior Pakistani military and intelligence officials had visited Kabul in recent months on goodwill visits, Spanta said. "I hope we can begin a constructive dialogue with a serious agenda during the next meeting in Islamabad, or in Kabul... maybe next month," he said.
Spanta said Pakistan had failed to act against al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban leadership known as the Quetta Shura, the Haqqani network, the minor Hekmatyar group, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, as well as "Uzbek and Chechen terrorist groups".
"It is not a particular secret that the terrorists have sanctuaries in Pakistan, that they have training centres, that they have the possibility to come to Afghanistan, attack us and go back," said Spanta. He denied that Karzai had met Sirajuddin Haqqani, who runs the Haqqani network which often launches attacks in Afghanistan, or the Taliban, "through mediation of Pakistan forces or otherwise".
Pakistani security officials indicated last month, however, that they were planning to help broker peace efforts in Afghanistan by acting as a bridge between the Kabul government and powerful Haqqani network.
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