Pakistan urges Nato to seal Afghan border

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday urged Nato troops stationed in Afghanistan to share intelligence and seal the border as it mounts a massive offensive against Taliban militants in the lawless northwest.

Nearly 30,000 troops are pressing a three-pronged push in South Waziristan, part of the Al-Qaeda-infested tribal district bordering Afghanistan. There are more than 100,000 foreign troops under US and Nato command in Afghanistan.

Pakistan unleashed the offensive after a recent string of spectacular attacks including a 22-hour siege on the army headquarters. Pakistani troops are up against about 10,000 Tehreek-e-Taliban fighters.

Pakistan Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman General Tariq Majid made Tuesday’s call during talks with Britain’s armed forces chief Jock Stirrup, a military statement said.

Appreciating the efforts and contributions made by British forces in Afghanistan, Majid stressed the need to effectively seal the border on the Afghan side to prevent militants escaping out of Pakistan with weapons, it said.

The general also called for ‘synchronization of effort on both sides and sharing of real time intelligence with reference to the ongoing operations’ in South Waziristan.

Stirrup expressed ‘solidarity and full support’ to Pakistan but warned against negative fall out in the southwestern province of Balochistan which borders Afghanistan and Iran.

Previous offensives against militants in the northwestern tribal belt have had limited success, costing the lives of 2,000 troops and in general ending with controversial peace agreements allowing militants to re-arm.

Stirrup’s visit coincides with twin suicide blasts at a Pakistani university campus that killed five people.—AFP

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