Oct. 22 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai tells Pakistan television his country will support Islamabad in the event of military conflict with the United States.
Afghan President Hamid Karzi told GEO TV in Pakistan that he would support Pakistan in the event of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States. The remarks were in sharp contrast to recent tension between the two neighbors over cross-border raids, and Afghan accusations that Pakistan was involved in killing the chief Afghan peace envoy. SOUNDBITE: Afghan President Hamid Karzi, saying (Urdu): "God forbid, if ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan" Despite months of tension and tough talk between Washington and Islamabad, the two allies appear to be working to ease tension. In a two-day visit to Islamabad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued stern warnings and asked for more cooperation in winding down the war in Afghanistan, but ruled out "boots on the ground" in North Waziristan, where Washington has been pushing Pakistan to tackle the Haqqani network. Karzai extended his friendship to Pakistan SOUNDBITE: Afghan President Hamid Karzi, saying (English): "And with the United States and Pakistani tensions, this has not had an impact in our attitude towards Pakistan. You know this. You know that we've had this engagement with Pakistan for a long time. And it comes to a brother-to-brother relationship. You'll find that Afghanistan will be there with you in times of difficulty. And that is the pain that we have. That is the pain that we have. Please, brother. Stop using all methods that hurt us and are now hurting you. Let's engage from a different platform. A platform in which the two brothers only progress towards a better future in peace and harmony. And Afghanistan will be with you." Pakistan is seen as a critical to the U.S. drive to end the conflict in Afghanistan. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been one of the most volatile fronts in the Afghan war and common cause between the two neighbors is the only way to bring peace. Brigidier General Carsten Jacobsen in Kabul was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. SOUNDBITE: Major General Carsten Jacobsen, saying (English): "This is a problem that only can be dealt with by the government of Afghanistan and the government of Pakistan and this is in the intersect of both countries to deal with the insurgency because it is a poisonous snake that bites in either direction and it has to be as much in the interest of Pakistan to deal with this problem in the long term." Karzai has said he would negotiate directly with Pakistan, saying its military and intelligence services could influence the militants to make peace. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters