President Hamid Karzai said in an interview with Geo that Pakistan was a "brother" nation that Afghanistan would side with in the event of a military clash with U.S. troops.
"If there is war between Pakistan and America, we will stand by Pakistan," Karzai vowed just a few days after hosting U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who warned Pakistan the United States was prepared to go after the Taliban sanctuaries in North Waziristan themselves.
The British newspaper The Guardian said Sunday observers saw Karzai's statements as more of a political gesture than a formal pledge to the Pakistani government. Pakistan and the United States have seen their relations strained over Pakistan's seeming inability to put an end to cross-border raids by the Taliban into Afghanistan.
The newspaper said Karzai has been trying to establish equilibrium among Pakistan, the Taliban and constituents in his own country who are not keen on being too close to the Pakistanis. All this must be accomplished by 2014, the target date for U.S. troop withdrawals.