Army chief: Stable Afghanistan needed

Feb. 2, 2010 at 12:44 AM
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RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Feb. 2 (UPI) -- Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani says his country wants a stable Afghanistan without "Talibanization."

"We can't have Talibanization. We want to remain modern and progressive," Kayani told foreign journalists Monday in the former capital of Rawalpindi, now a garrison city, The Washington Post reported. "We cannot wish for Afghanistan what we don't wish for Pakistan."

Pakistan, which had supported the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the past, wants peace and stability there to gain "strategic depth," the general said. Kayani offered Pakistan's help in training the Afghan National Army so it can defend the country.

The two neighbors in the past have accused each other of fomenting Islamist insurgency that now is targeting both of them, the Post reported.

Kayani said Pakistan is suffering more extremist attacks than Afghanistan. He said his military's help in the Afghan war effort -- including logistical support to supply lines and operations in the tribal regions near the Afghan border -- has helped substantially to bring down cross-border attacks on allied forces in Afghanistan, Dawn reported.

Military operations in the tribal regions, however, have not been extended to North Waziristan, seen as a sanctuary for militant groups that plan attacks in Afghanistan.

Dawn quoted Kayani as saying there is already one army division in North Waziristan. He said the military needs to consolidate its gains in other areas before launching any new offensive.

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