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Ex-Afghan president accuses Pakistan of supporting Taliban
Updated: 2005-11-14 13:54

The head of Afghanistan's reconciliation commission accused forces in Pakistan of propping up a deadly insurgency being waged in the name of loyalists of the Taliban government ousted four years ago.

The neighbouring country helped to create the fundamentalist Taliban in the early 1990s and elements in it were still providing militants with weapons to "destroy us", Sebghatullah Mojaddadi told reporters on Monday.

He was responding to a question about his reference at a national reconciliation conference Saturday to "foreign hands" he said were employing and equipping people to carry out attacks in Afghanistan.

"We have not seen any direct military interferences except from our Pakistani brothers," said Mojaddadi, who briefly served as president in 1992.

"I don't know why they have not stopped their inhumane interference in Afghanistan so far," he said.

While Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf might not be directly involved in supporting the militants, other groups such as the country's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and religious schools were, he said.

"Pakistan or its ISI have given them (militants) plans to implement in Afghanistan, have provided them with weapons and facilities and warned them if they do not do it they will be handed over to Americans as Al-Qaeda," he said.

They also "employ international terrorists (who) pay them, equip them and bring them in to destroy us," he said, adding, "I don't know why. Peace in Afghanistan is also good for them."

Pakistan was one of only three countries which officially recognised the Taliban's ultra-Islamic regime but it turned its back on the hardliners after they were ousted in a US-led invasion in late 2001 for not handing over Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden for the September 11 attacks.

Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attacks, which killed about 3,000 people.

Islamabad is now a key ally in Washington's "war on terror" that includes a force of nearly 20,000 US-led troops hunting down Al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

Some of those militants fled across the border into Pakistan where the military has rounded up many of them. Mojaddadi said most of those arrested were Pakistanis and not Afghans.

Pakistan has said it deployed about 70,000 troops along the border with Afghanistan to stop militants from crossing into its rugged tribal region. Its security forces have also destroyed Al-Qaeda-linked hideouts and training camps.

Taliban loyalists have vowed to overthrow the new government of US-backed President Hamid Karzai and regularly attack officials and security forces.

The violence -- which has claimed about 1,400 lives this year, the highest annual toll since 2001 -- has cast a shadow over a transition to democracy that took another step at the weekend when the results of September's parliamentary elections were finalised.

About 640 Taliban, including former ministers, commanders and ambassadors, have accepted an amnesty offered by the National Independent Commission for Peace and Reconciliation that Mojaddadi heads.

"Those who surrender, we will watch them... we have trusted their commitment," Mojaddadi said.

The commission brought provincial ministers and security chiefs to the capital at the weekend to promote the reconciliation drive.

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