US urges Afghans, Pakistanis to cooperate on border security

June 18th, 2008 - 4:59 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, June 18 (DPA) The US Tuesday urged the Afghan and Pakistani governments to work together to improve border security, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai warned he was willing to send troops into Pakistan to halt cross-border militant attacks. Karzai has been increasingly frustrated by attacks carried out on Afghan soil by Taliban militants operating out of Pakistan, and on Sunday threatened to launch an assault across the border.

“We’d like to see President Karzai and the Afghans and the Pakistanis work out on their own ways to help improve security on the border region,” said Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman.

“I don’t think President Karzai’s comment was a threat. I think President Karzai is dealing with a very difficult situation on his border,” Fratto said.

Karzai told reporters at his fortified presidential palace on Sunday that that his country was a victim of terrorism and pledged to go after the Taliban on Pakistani soil in “self-defence.”

Pakistan reacted angrily as tension between the two countries continues to escalate over the border region.

“Since the two countries were faced with a common enemy it was all the more necessary that Afghanistan refrained from making irresponsible threatening statements,” Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

The Pakistani government has struggled to control the remote border region, and has instead pursued ceasefires with the militants to the annoyance of the US and Afghan governments.

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