Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pakistan angered by Afghan allegations on Rabbani

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan urged Afghanistan on Thursday to act responsibly after Kabul accused Islamabad of masterminding the killing of the chief Afghan peace envoy.
Pakistan angrily rejected allegations that its spy agency was behind the September 20 killing of Burhanuddin Rabbani by a suicide bomber who hid explosives in his turban and posed as a Taliban representative with a message of reconciliation.
"It is our expectation that everyone, especially those in position of authority in Afghanistan, will demonstrate requisite maturity and responsibility," Foreign Office spokeswoman Tehmina Janjua told a news conference.
"This is no time for point-scoring, playing politics or grandstanding."
Pakistan has been on the defensive since the top U.S. military official accused its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency of supporting a September 13 attack by the Taliban-allied Haqqani militant group on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.
Afghans have long been suspicious of Pakistan's intentions in their country and question its promise to help bring peace.
Senior Afghan officials have accused the ISI of masterminding the assassination of Rabbani, a former Afghan president.
President Hamid Karzai has said there was a Pakistani link to the killing and investigators he appointed believe the assassin was Pakistani and the suicide bombing was plotted in Pakistan.
On Wednesday, Afghanistan's intelligence agency said it had thwarted a plot to assassinate Karzai after arresting a bodyguard and five people with links to the Haqqani network and al Qaeda.
The plotters, who included university students and a medical professor, had been trained to launch attacks in Kabul and had recruited one of Karzai's bodyguards to kill the president, the National Directorate of Security (NDS) said.
Pakistan is looking increasingly isolated since Karzai signed a wide-ranging agreement with its rival India this week.
The pact signals a formal tightening of links that may spark Pakistani concern that India is increasingly competing for leverage in Afghanistan.
Pakistan wants wide say in any peace settlement in Afghanistan. Analysts say Pakistan maintains ties with Afghan militants in a bid to counter India's growing influence there. Pakistan denies this.
Janjua did not express any alarm over Karzai's pact with India, but she suggested it could create more regional instability.
"The most important thing that we would like to underscore is that within the context of any relationship, the fundamental principle of ensuring stability in the region must be taken into full account," she said.
Pakistan has long feared a hostile India over its eastern border and a pro-India Afghanistan on its western border.
(Reporting by Augustine Anthony; Editing by Michael Georgy and Robert Birsel)

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