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Page last updated at 16:29 GMT, Thursday, 5 June 2008 17:29 UK

Pakistan 'gives militants refuge'

Taleban in tribal area of South Waziristan
The militants control swathes of the tribal areas

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Spanta has criticised Pakistan for seeking peace deals with pro-Taleban militants.

The militants use Pakistan's tribal areas to launch cross-border attacks on targets inside Afghanistan.

Pakistan was providing sanctuary to terrorists, Dr Spanta told the BBC, a day before talks in Kabul with his Pakistani counterpart Mehmood Qureshi.

This will be their first meeting since Pakistani officials began controversial new talks with leaders in tribal areas.

'Appeasement'

A new government came to power in Pakistan earlier this year promising to negotiate to end violence in the border area.

So far the authorities have signed just one agreement with militants in North-West Frontier Province.

But more deals are sought, aimed at persuading militants across the region to end attacks in return for troop pullouts and other measures.

ANA soldier
Afghan troops are often targeted by the Taleban

Dr Spanta said Pakistan was providing terrorists with sanctuary - a policy which could lead to more attacks inside Afghanistan.

"I believe that appeasement is the wrong policy," he told the BBC.

"We can make peace, but we have to make [it] from a strong position, not to have a separate peace to give terrorist groups the possibility for more mobilisation against the international community, against soldiers and also against our civilians."

The Afghan foreign minister was keen to stress his country's "good relations" with Pakistan's civilian government.

But he went on to warn about other elements in Pakistan which might want to use terrorism as an instrument of foreign policy.

"That is wrong and is a serious threat to the stability of Afghanistan," he said.

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says Afghan officials have in the past accused the Pakistani military intelligence services, the ISI, of interference in their domestic affairs.

Our correspondent says Dr Spanta's comment could be seen as a referring to this issue.


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