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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 13:18 GMT
Pakistan 'out to enslave Afghans'
Hamid Karzai in Kandahar
Karzai: 'I won't become Pakistan's slave'
President Hamid Karzai has hit out at Pakistan over continuing violence in Afghanistan, accusing it of trying to turn his countrymen into "slaves".

Mr Karzai's comments are among his most strongly-worded yet in the spat between the neighbours over border attacks.

While on a visit to the southern city of Kandahar, he also criticised Nato-led forces for killing civilians.

As he did so a motorcyclist was accidentally killed by Nato troops in the city. Nato subsequently apologised.


Mr Karzai's latest verbal attack on Pakistan came while he was visiting a school in Kandahar.

Even if they kill 25 million people [in Afghanistan] I won't become their slave
Afghan President Hamid Karzai

"Pakistan has not given up hope of making us slaves. But they cannot," he said.

"This tyranny against our people is not by the nation of Pakistan, it is by the government of Pakistan."

The BBC's Alastair Leithead in Kabul says Taleban fighters are known to move across the border between the two countries and there are growing concerns that the insurgents are increasing their strength in the tribal-controlled areas on the Pakistani side in Waziristan.

Our correspondent says many diplomats support the view that elements within Pakistan are making things worse in Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government has long denied suggestions that it could do more to stop cross-border attacks.

Officials point to the deaths of hundreds of Pakistani troops fighting pro-Taleban militants on the Pakistani side of the border.

But recent peace deals with the militants aimed at ending the bloodshed have been viewed with suspicion in Kabul and Washington.

Pakistani foreign ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam did not respond directly to Mr Karzai's remarks, but repeated Islamabad's view that the roots of Afghanistan's violence were mainly to be found within its borders.

"The problem of Afghanistan is primarily inside Afghanistan and it should be resolved there. The Taleban are operating well inside Afghanistan," Ms Aslam said, the AFP news agency reported.

Civilian toll

Afghanistan has seen its most violent year since the overthrow of the Taleban five years ago, with more than 3,500 people killed, according to the authorities.

President Karzai also expressed his anger and worry about the increasing number of civilians being killed by Nato forces as well as insurgents, and said the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) was reviewing its procedures to keep them down to a minimum.

He was referring to an incident in the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack on British forces last week in Kandahar when a number of people were killed or injured.

But as he spoke, a civilian on a motorbike was mistakenly shot dead as he approached an Isaf checkpoint in the city.

In Kandahar, where there have been a large number of suicide attacks over the past two weeks, there is increasing criticism of the Nato forces over civilian casualties, our correspondent says.

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