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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 09:18 GMT
Pakistan 'arrested' 500 Taleban
Taleban fighters
Kabul accuses Islamabad of harbouring Taleban fighters
Pakistan says it has arrested more than 500 Taleban militants this year and handed most of them to Afghanistan.

Pakistan's foreign ministry said the upsurge in violence in Afghanistan called for better security co-operation between the neighbours.

Earlier this week, President Hamid Karzai accused Pakistan of harbouring and supporting militants who have stepped up violence in Afghanistan.

More than 3,500 people have been killed in violence in Afghanistan this year.


In a statement released on Thursday, Pakistan's foreign ministry said: "Pakistan has arrested over 500 Taleban this year from Quetta and other cities."

The foreign ministry said that Pakistan had handed over 400 of these arrested men to the Afghan authorities.

Afghanistan says Taleban leaders plot some of their attacks in Afghanistan from Quetta, the capital of Pakistan's south-western Balochistan province.

Pakistan was once the Taleban's main sponsor, but after the September 2001 attacks in the United States, Islamabad joined the US-led "war on terror".

The government in Islamabad denies it continues to support the militants or that it could do more to stop them crossing the porous border.

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

Pakistan says that the roots of Afghanistan's violence are mainly to be found within its borders.

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


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

He accused Pakistan's government of trying to turn Afghans into "slaves" - something he said it would not achieve.

"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.

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.

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