Afghan President Hamid Karzai is accusing Muslim clergy in neighboring Pakistan
of fueling attacks inside his country.
President Karzai says religious seminaries inside Pakistan are recruiting
fighters to join remnants of his nation's former hard-line Islamic Taleban
regime in their battle against Afghanistan's new government.
The Afghan leader accused Pakistani clerics running religious schools of
recruiting Afghan refugees and others to cross the border and serve as militants.
Taleban and other insurgent guerrilla forces are raiding Afghan police and
military targets, and carrying out terror attacks in towns and cities.
In reaction to President Karzai's speech, Pakistan's Interior Minister Faisal
Saleh Hayat says the link between the old Taleban regime and some Pakistani
religious leaders has a long history.
"There is no denying the fact that certain elements within the clergy, they
have been engaged in activities certainly which have been leading the world
to believe that the clergy is involved in cases where there is terrorism," he
said. "That has certainly not improved the image of the clergy, in Pakistan
Mr. Hayat says militants in the Pakistani clergy and the men they recruit
are not the core cause of the Afghan insurgency.
"They would certainly have some sympathizers within Afghanistan itself," added
Mr. Hayat. "They cannot indulge in such actions all by themselves. So it is
also imperative for the Afghanistan government to take steps to neutralize
that threat within their own society."
Relations between the two countries have been tense over the past year.
Afghan officials have accused Pakistan of doing little to root out Taleban
militants and their allies from the remote and mountainous Pakistani regions
near the Afghan border.
Pakistan says it is doing its utmost to stop such infiltrations and has increased
its military presence in the region.