KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai censured Pakistan on Monday for allegedly endorsing a controversial statement by Chairman of Pakistan Ulema Council Allama Tahir Ashrafi, the Associated Press reported.
The president alleged that a statement by Ashrafi in favour of suicide bombings in Afghanistan showed that Pakistan is not sincere in its efforts to fight terrorism.
Ashrafi, who had been scheduled to travel to Afghanistan for a meeting of the two countries' religious leaders, allegedly said in a television interview that suicide attacks in Afghanistan are lawful because Nato troops are invaders that have occupied the country.
Karzai noted that Ashrafi was appointed to the delegation by the government, implying that the government in Islamabad was backing his views.
Afghanistan wants a real struggle against terrorism and wants the Pakistani government to realise that both our nations are burning in the same fire, the Afghan leader said, speaking at a press conference with visiting Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
The Pakistani government has an essential and important role in putting out this fire, Karzai added.
The situation is getting out of control for everyone now. This is not to the benefit of Afghanistan, Pakistan or the region, Karzai said.
Fogh Rasmussen also condemned the cleric's statement and called on Pakistan to do more to rein in the extremist militants along its borders.
Nothing can justify terrorist attacks, Fogh Rasmussen said. We have repeatedly urged the Pakistani government and the Pakistani military to step up the fight against terrorism and extremism in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We need a positive response from Pakistan if we are to ensure long-term peace.