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Monday, March 15, 2010

Pakistan intelligence calls for Afghan border to be closed

LONDON, Mar 15 : Pakistan has demanded Nato forces a tighter control of the Afghan border to stop Taliban fighters escaping its operations in the tribal areas.
Major General Athar Abbas, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said that a cross-border flow into Afghanistan was hampering its campaign to crush the Taliban.
"We are at full stretch. I have to say that the border is a joint responsibility," he said.
"Nato must stop the cross border flow," Daily Telegraph quoted the DG-ISPR as saying in a presentation to the Royal United Services Institute, a London based think tank.
Pakistan has rapidly expanded its presence along the Afghanistan border, which crosses mountains and deserts, after years of complaints from Nato that it was not doing enough to stop Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters finding safe haven in its territory.
According to Maj Gen Abbas, there are now 821 Pakistan army checkpoints on the border, but just 112 Afghan army or Nato posts.
"The best we can say is that North Waziristan is being controlled through squeezing effects from all sides," the Pakistan official said.
About the Taliban and al-Qaeda linked militants sheltering in the tribal region, he said: "These leaders are having great difficulty communicating and they have been denied freedom of movement."
The DG-ISPR also claimed that factions within the Afghan Taliban had begun fighting the mainly Arab al-Qaeda operatives and their allies in recent weeks.
"There is internal fighting between the Taliban factions and, as a result, the al-Qaeda presence in North Waziristan has been forced into a compressed space."

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