July 27, 2010 / 12:05 PM / 9 years ago

Afghanistan questions U.S. silence over Pakistan's role

KABUL (Reuters) - The United States has pursued a contradictory policy with regard to the Afghan war by ignoring Pakistan’s role in the insurgency, the Afghan government said on Tuesday, following the leak of U.S. military documents.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange holds up a copy of a newspaper during a press conference at the Frontline Club in central London, July 26, 2010. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

The classified documents released by the organisation, WikiLeaks, show current and former members of Pakistan’s spy agency were actively collaborating with the Taliban in plotting attacks in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, in its first reaction to the leak, Afghanistan’s National Security Council said the United States had failed to attack the patrons and supporters of the Taliban hiding in Pakistan throughout the nine-year conflict.

“With regret ... our allies did not show necessary attention about the external support for the international terrorists ... for the regional stability and global security,” the council said in a statement.

Afghanistan has long blamed Pakistan for meddling in its affairs, accusing the neighbour of plotting attacks to destabilise it. Islamabad, which has had longstanding ties to the Taliban, denies involvement in the insurgency and says it is a victim of militancy itself.

The National Security Council did not name Pakistan, but said use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy was a dangerous gamble and had to be stopped.

“Having a contradictory and vague policy against the forces who use terrorism as a tool for interference and sabotage against others, have had devastating results,” it said.

At a news conference later on Tuesday, council head Rangeen Dadfar Spanta was more specific, questioning the billions of dollars in cash aid and military assistance Washington has given to Pakistan over the years.

“It is really not justifiable for the Afghan people that how come you give to one country $11 billion or more as help for reconstruction or strengthen its security or defensive forces, but from other side the very forces train terrorism,” he said.

He warned that the war would not succeed unless there was a review of Afghan policy by Washington that focuses on Taliban sanctuaries and bases in Pakistan and their supporters.

Those supporting militants should be punished rather than be treated as an ally, said Spanta, who served for years as foreign minister in President Hamid Karzai’s government until last year.

The White House has condemned the WikiLeaks disclosures, saying it could threaten national security. Pakistan said leaking unprocessed reports from the battlefield was irresponsible.

The documents numbering tens of thousands also said that coalition troops had killed hundreds of Afghan civilians in unreported incidents and often sought to cover up the mistakes that have shaken up confidence in the war effort among many in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the Afghan government said it had spoken in private and in public meetings with its Western allies about the need to stop civilian deaths.

“In the past nine years (since Taliban’s fall) thousands of citizens of Afghanistan and from our ally countries have become victimised,” it said.

Editing by Sugita Katyal

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