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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 07:19 GMT 08:19 UK
Pakistan groups 'help Taleban'
By Ian MacWilliam
BBC correspondent in Kandahar

Newly trained soldiers of the northern alliance on patrol in Kandahar
Security was boosted in Kandahar following recent attacks
A spokesman for the provincial government of Kandahar in southern Afghanistan has said Islamist parties in Pakistan are providing financial help to the Taleban, funding attacks in the area.

The Kandahar Government spokesman, Khaled Pushtun, said some of Afghanistan's neighbours were supplying Taleban insurgents with money to carry out attacks aimed at destabilising the region.

Mr Pushtun was speaking amidst calls for greater security measures in the border areas between the two countries following another attack on an Afghan Government post by suspected Taleban.

He said that while Afghanistan had good relations with the Pakistani Government, Islamist political parties in Pakistan had always openly supported the Taleban, and they were continuing to provide funds and moral support now.

Islamist parties are in power in both of the Pakistani provinces which border Afghanistan.

Mr Pushtun said that a minority of Afghans in the south still favour the Taleban and outsiders were taking advantage of this to promote anti-government activity on the Afghan side of the border.

He said there should be more international pressure on Afghanistan's neighbours to prevent this.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai (r) recently replaced Gul Agha Sherzai (l) as governor of Kandahar
President Karzai's decision to replace Gul Agha Sherzai was significant
The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, has recently appointed a new governor in Kandahar, in what is being seen as an attempt to assert his authority in southern Afghanistan.

The news has been broadly welcomed, although some tribal leaders are annoyed at the decision to remove Gul Agha Sherzai as governor.

Mr Sherzai was a supporter of Afghanistan's former King Zahir Shah.

A political party has recently been formed to campaign for a constitutional monarchy in Afghanistan and some tribal elders see Mr Sherzai's removal as the beginning of a campaign to weaken the royalists ahead of next year's planned elections.

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Country profile: Afghanistan
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