Sat, Dec 30, 2006 - Page 5 News List

Afghan president pans border plan


Pakistan's plan to mine and fence its border with Afghanistan will separate families but will not prevent terrorism, according to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Earlier this week Pakistan said it would plant land mines and build a fence on parts of its 2,430km frontier with Afghanistan -- an effort to fend off criticism it does too little to stop Taliban and al-Qaeda guerrillas from crossing.

Terrorists will still find a way to cross the border to attack in Afghanistan, Karzai said on Thursday at a news conference.

"Laying of mines or fencing the border will only separate people, families from each other," Karzai said.

"Rather than helping, it will cause people difficulty in movement, in trade," he said.

The frontier region is inhabited on both sides by the Pashtun, who travel freely across the line.

Karzai said that rather than building a fence, officials must remove the training centers used by terrorists and go after their sources of funding and equipment, an accusation he often levels against Pakistani officials without mentioning the name of his neighboring country.

"If we want to prevent terrorism from crossing the border into Afghanistan, if we want to prevent terrorism as a whole, forever, eradicate them, defeat them, then we must remove their sanctuaries," Karzai said.

Afghan and Western officials contend that militants train in Pakistan and then launch attacks in Afghanistan, but the Islamabad government insists it does all it can to stop them.

UN officials on Wednesday criticized Pakistan's plan, saying it would add to civilian casualties.

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