| ||Pak Army behind incursions, Senate informed|
By Abasin Zaheer
[Printer Friendly Version]
KABUL - Senior security officials on Tuesday informed the Senate that cross-border attacks into eastern Kunar province were carried out by the Pakistani Army and intelligence service.
Over the past one year, hundreds of rockets and missiles have been fired into several districts of Kunar, killing and wounding dozens of people and forcing hundreds of families to flee homes.
Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi, Chief of Army Staff Gen. Sher Mohammad Karimi and National Directorate of Security deputy head (operations) Dr. Zia appeared before the Meshrano Jirga to brief lawmakers on the incursions.
Mohammadi said so far one thousand rockets had been fired into Dangam, Narai, Sarkano and Marawara districts of Kunar. A government delegation found the Pakistan army and intelligence were behind the attacks, the minister added.
“Heavy weapons with the Taliban are B-1 missiles, machine guns and mortars. The rounds of rockets we have found are available only to Pakistani forces,” the minister explained.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, who visited Kabul earlier this month, said there had also been attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan -- a claim rejected by Mohammadi.
The minister insisted that Afghan forces were ready to give a tit-for-tat response to Pakistani attacks, if allowed to do so. “It does not matter if we don’t have heavy weaponry; we have the spirit to lay down our lives for the country.”
Mohammadi accused Pakistani forces of encroaching on Afghan territory over the past three decades.
The chief of army staff said there had also been attacks from the Pakistani army and intelligence operatives in southeastern Khost, eastern Nuristan, Nangarhar and southeastern Pakia and Paktia provinces.
Gen. Karimi said information about the shelling was shared from time to time with foreign ministry, intelligence service and foreign troops. He said he had repeatedly asked foreign troops for a response to the attacks or their prevention.
“But foreign troops, particularly Americans, are not willing to prevent Pakistani attacks, fearing the closure of the NATO supply routes and the atomic bomb that Islamabad has,” he said.
The army chief said that ignoring the attacks was a sheer injustice to the people of Afghanistan. Pakistan had nefarious designs against Afghanistan since its creation in 1947 due to the dispute over the Durand Line, Karimi said.
He believed the real aim was to force Afghanistan into recognising the Durand Line as a permanent international border. “At joint meetings, when we talk about the Durand Line, Pakistani officials get angry and say it is an international border.”
The army chief said Afghan forces needed advanced weapons to respond to Pakistani aggression. He revealed the army planned to raise a new battalion for Kunar and Nuristan.
NDS deputy chief (operations) Dr. Zia said Pakistan, interested in the uninterrupted flow of Kunar River into its territory, was against the construction of any dam in the eastern province.
Another objective behind the assaults was that Pakistan wanted to displace residents of border areas and send terrorists and spies there, he alleged. The spy chief lashed out at foreign troops for not coming up with a clear stance on the issue.
Senate Chairman Fazl Hadi Muslimyar said security forces should not wait for permission from the president or parliament to respond to cross-border attacks.
He also asked the officials to consult the president on the incidents. The legislators approved the remarks by raising their hands.