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Karzai accuses Pakistan of firing 470 rockets into Afghanistan

Kabul , Mon, 27 Jun 2011 ANI

Kabul, June 27(ANI): Afghan President Hamid Karzai has accused Pakistan of firing 470 rockets into two eastern Afghan provinces over the past three weeks, which reportedly killed 36 people, including 12 children.


According to Afghan border officials, the attacks took place in areas of Kunar and Nangahar provinces where NATO forces have withdrawn, and where Pakistani Taliban moved in behind fleeing civilians, Fox News reports.


Karzai indicated that Pakistani government forces are responsible for the bombardment, and "they should be stopped immediately."


"If they are not being carried out by Pakistan, Pakistan should make it clear who is behind the attacks," Karzai was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the presidential palace.


The Afghan President said he discussed the rocket barrage with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, during an anti-terrorism conference in Tehran on Saturday, the same day the Afghan Defence Ministry spokesman had warned that Afghanistan would defend itself.


"The government of Pakistan should understand that there will be a reaction for killing Afghan citizens," said spokesman Mohammad Zahir Azimi.


Karzai said he also discussed the border attack with Afghan NATO commander General David Petraeus and US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry during his regular national Security Council meeting on Sunday.


Afghan border police spokesman Edris Mohmand, who reported that 36 Afghans were killed by the rockets, including 12 children, said that 2,000 families have fled districts threatened by the barrage.


"All these attacks have been from Pakistan's side and for sure they are Pakistani weapons being used against innocent Afghans," Mohmand said.


"The border police in the eastern region have been equipped with heavy artillery but we are waiting for orders from the Interior Minister," he added.


Afghan security officials said that joint NATO and Afghan border units have fired back into Pakistan, but NATO and Pakistan military officials denied any knowledge of border skirmishes.


American and Afghan officials have pressured Pakistan to end its security forces' long-standing relationship with the Taliban movement, viewed as a tool for Pakistani influence over strategically placed Afghanistan, the report said.


Such major artillery support for a Taliban operation, however, would be one of the most blatant recent examples of Pakistani support and bodes ill for the testy relationship among the three countries, it added. (ANI)


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