Pakistan denies role in top Afghan spy attack

Pakistan denies role in top Afghan spy attack

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Pakistan denies role in top Afghan spy attack

A joint working group comprised of Afghan and Pakistani agencies will address the recent attack on the Afghan spy chief, Pakistani FM Khar (R) tells Hürriyet Daily News reporter Sevil Küçükkoşum. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ

Pakistan has rejected accusations from Kabul that a recent attack on Afghanistan’s newly appointed intelligence chief was planned in the neighboring country and agreed to establish a working group with Afghanistan to address the attack.

Intelligence chief Asadullah Khalid, who was wounded by a suicide bomber in the Afghan capital last month, did not check the attacker before he met him and the person was not sent by a Pakistani intelligence organization, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told the Hürriyet Daily News on Dec. 12.

Ahead of a trilateral summit including Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai and hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gül in Ankara on Dec. 12, a spokesman for the Afghan president said they would “submit all documents and evidence in hand to Zardari, who suggests the attack was hatched in Quetta, Pakistan.”

Yet Karzai repeatedly reiterated that he had not accused Pakistan of last month’s attack, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, according to Khar.

“He did not accuse Pakistan, and there is no question about accusing Pakistan, because Pakistan itself is a victim of terrorism,” the Pakistani minister said.

Pakistan hosts nearly 3 million Afghan refugees, Khar said, adding that if any of them return to Afghanistan and commit a crime that person would not be Pakistan’s responsibility.

“Actually, we are very keen that they go back to Afghanistan. The Afghan government has requested we allow them to stay, which we’ll happily allow. But you have to choose what works for you and what doesn’t,” she said.

Rejecting responsibility for the crimes of Afghan nationals, the minister expressed Pakistan’s willingness to cooperate with their neighbor against similar terrorist attacks.

At the seventh trilateral meeting in Ankara, accompanied by ministers and their army chiefs, Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to open a joint investigation into the assassination attempt on Afghanistan’s national security director.

Mechanism against terror
The parties agreed to establish an institutionalized mechanism of various agencies to collaborate and cooperate against terrorism and “to make sure that we are able to share information and develop common strategies to deal with terrorism,” Khar said. “Various entities and agencies will have an opportunity to interact with each other on a regular basis so that all of the challenges we face can be dealt with.”

“A joint working group comprised of relevant agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan will address the recent attack on the national security director of Afghanistan,” all three countries said in a statement released after the trilateral meeting.

Elaborating on the achievements made in the meetings, one of the best outcomes of the initiative had been “a greater understanding of [terrorism] as a common challenge and that all of us have to work together to be able to deal with this challenge,” the Pakistani minister said.

In the last round of trilateral meetings, the parties also focused on joint training activities within the police and military as well as railway sector work, according to Khar.

“We are working very aggressively on the ‘Gül Train,’ an international freight service between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey that was started in 2009. As the Kabul train connects the three countries efficiently, the volume of trade can dramatically improve,” the minister said.