Frustrated Karzai again lashes out at Pakistan

KANDAHAR, Dec 13: Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Wednesday lashed out at Pakistan for the third time this week, accusing the neighbouring country of trying to enslave the Afghan people.

Mr Karzai's rhetorical barrage started in a tearful speech on Sunday when he said ‘terrorists’ from Pakistan were killing Afghan children. He ratcheted up his criticism on Tuesday, directly charging Islamabad with supporting the Taliban.

In Islamabad, Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Tasneem Aslam said the Taliban were operating well inside Afghanistan and reiterated that Islamabad was standing up to the problem.

On Wednesday Mr Karzai took direct aim at the eastern neighbour. “Pakistan hopes to make slaves out of us, but we will not surrender,” he said in a school courtyard, in a 90-minute speech punctuated by frequent applause from several hundred schoolboys in attendance. He said Afghan students might aspire to lofty career goals, but that “Pakistan wants you to be a gatekeeper at the hotel in Karachi.”

“Pakistan still hasn't given up the hope of making us slaves. But they cannot,” Mr Karzai said, adding that “this tyranny against our people is not by the nation of Pakistan, it is by the government of Pakistan.”

Mr Karzai linked a recent spate of suicide bombs to a visit by Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri. “Before his arrival they wanted to scare me off; they wanted me to surrender. But I am not scared,” Mr Karzai said.

“They wanted to make me accept to become their slave. But even if they kill 25 million people (in Afghanistan) I won’t become their slave.

“I told (Pakistan’s President) Musharraf we are angry and the nation is angry. I told him I am the one preventing them otherwise they will come after you,” added the Afghan leader, who sheltered in Quetta during part of the Taliban era.

Mr Karzai also sent a message to the Taliban's fugitive leader Mullah Omar and other commanders when he said: “If it is you operating out of a basement of Pakistan’s ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence agency) God may break your backbone”.

Pakistan’s foreign ministry spokesperson Tasneem Aslam told Dawn’s Qudssia Akhlaque in Islamabad that Pakistan was doing whatever was needed to stop its territory from being used for militant activities in Afghanistan and to counter extremism as well as terrorism.

Recounting the specific measures taken by Pakistan, including deployment of 80,000 troops, she said: “We are also taking military action. We also have a comprehensive strategy which has a political dimension to ensure that the local population does not support any militancy in Afghanistan and support government’s efforts in this regard.”

Noting that Pakistan would like to see all the refugees go back to Afghanistan, and if necessary resettled in areas that according to the Afghan government were relatively peaceful, the spokesperson said: “This would remove the presence of Afghans close to the border which appears to prompt allegations from Kabul.”

In this context she mentioned the suggestions already made for jirgas and explained: “The purpose is to see how this traditional institution can be used to bring about an end to violence and establish peace in south and south-east Afghanistan.”Analysts say Mr Karzai is venting his frustration in the wake of a wave of suicide attacks and a surge in violence. Afghanistan has seen more than 100 suicide attacks this year, a record number, and close to 4,000 people have died in insurgency-related violence.

Foreign Minister Kasuri said Mr Karzai was misinformed and was merely looking for a scapegoat. “To those who say this, I would like to say that it is a common human reaction when you have difficulties, you find somebody else to blame. I am not talking about President Karzai,” Mr Kasuri said on Wednesday in Islamabad.

“People who are well informed ... they know better. They know what Pakistan is doing, they know the price that Pakistan is paying,” Mr Kasuri said.-Agencies

Musraff replies Karzai as usual :- "The statements of Hamid Karzai are ridiculous"
(Urdu translation :- Hamir Karzai k byaanat niri bukwas hein)