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Afghanistan raises criticism of Pakistan

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made a carefully-worded response to bin Laden's capture in Pakistan. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has made a carefully-worded response to bin Laden's capture in Pakistan. UPI/Maryam Rahmanian | License Photo

KABUL, Afghanistan, May 5 (UPI) -- Afghanistan's criticism of Pakistan in the anti-insurgency effort has become sharper following Osama bin Laden's death, The New York Times says.

While Afghan President Hamid Karzai had carefully worded his reaction to the killing of the al-Qaida leader by U.S. forces last Monday in Abbottabad, Pakistan, defense ministry spokesman Gen. Zahir Azimi was direct in questioning Pakistan intelligence's role in the Abbottabad operation and how it can protect Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

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Afghanistan in the past has maintained the region's insurgency flows from Pakistan and the United States is fighting a war in the wrong country, the Times said.

"If the Pakistani intelligence agency does not know about a home located 10 meters or 100 meters away from its national military academy, where for the last six years the biggest terrorist is living, how can this country take care of its strategic weapons?" the Times quoted Azimi as asking a news conference. "How could they be satisfied that their strategic weapons are not in danger?"

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Azimi went on to say if the Pakistani intelligence did know bin Laden's whereabouts, then "they are playing a double game."

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Karzai national security adviser Rangin Spanta in an interview told the Times: "We have to change the geography of the war. For 10 years, President Karzai has repeated, 'We have to destroy the sanctuaries, and the sanctuaries are in Pakistan.'"

The Times said Kabul has been concerned about Pakistan's military might and its financing of jihadist Islamic movements that have helped escalate insurgency in Afghanistan.

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"We cannot live in permanent war with a neighbor," Spanta told the Times, noting Afghan efforts to work with Pakistan to achieve peace with the Taliban.

But former Afghan intelligence director Amrullah Saleh, a Pakistani critic, told the Times: "If they were able to protect Osama for 10 years, then (Taliban spiritual leader) Mullah (Muhammad) Omar and Haqqani are in the (Pakistani intelligence service's) safe guesthouse, safe house, whatever you want to call it."

The Haqqani Taliban group is suspected to be financed by Pakistan's intelligence service.

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"It is time for the United States to wake up to the fact that Pakistan is a hostile state exporting terror," he said

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