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US troops pullout from eastern Afghanistan leaves Pak vulnerable to militant attacks

Jalalabad, Tue, 18 Oct 2011 ANI

Jalalabad/Chitral, Oct 18(ANI): Pakistani militants are exploiting a security vacuum left by US troops withdrawal from a swath of eastern Afghanistan to mount attacks inside Pakistan, according to a news report.


The Pakistan military has called on the Afghan government to arrest and hand over Maulvi Fazlullah, a Pakistani Taliban leader also known as "Mullah Radio" who, it said, had been using Afghan soil to mount cross-border raids that have killed dozens of soldiers in recent months.


"Information about these individuals and groups has been passed to the Afghan government and Nato but no action has been taken... Fazlullah is going from strength to strength, day by day," The Guardian quoted Pakistan military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, as saying.


Afghans claim that the Pakistan military has responded to the incursions by indiscriminately firing artillery across the border, hitting villages in attacks that have killed at least 43 civilians since last May.


Abbas admitted that some shells were falling in Afghanistan, but said it was not "intentional fire".


The cross-border shelling has led to a storm of protest in Kabul, where parliamentarians have angrily accused President Hamid Karzai of "going soft" on Pakistan to facilitate contacts with the Taliban.


While intensified US operations in southern Afghanistan over the last two years have produced impressive results - the number of attacks initiated by insurgents on Nato and Afghan forces are well down on previous years - the east has deteriorated, the report said.


Kunar and Nuristan pose particular problems, it said, adding that although the provinces, with their multiple smuggling routes and cross-border traffic by insurgents, lumber smugglers and other groups, are important to both the government and the militants, they are also exceptionally difficult to control.


Western strategy hinges on handing control to a beefed-up Afghan army supported by a much smaller western contingent of perhaps 10,000 to 20,000 soldiers, after most western troops leave in 2014, the report said.


But if the Pakistani and Afghan governments have failed to secure their common border areas by then, the Taliban could step up attacks in both directions across the porous border, with dire consequences for stability in both countries, it warned. (ANI)


Read More: Mau | Kunar | Gua | Hami

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