US presses Pakistan over Afghan attacks
* Clinton phones Khar, speaks about ‘shared responsibility to confront terrorists’
* Discusses next steps in Pak-US dialogue
* US blames Haqqani network for attacks
BRASILIA/WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke to Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar about their shared responsibility to confront terrorists following Sunday’s attacks in Afghanistan, the State Department said in a statement on Monday.
Afghanistan’s Taliban attacked Kabul on Sunday with heavy explosions, rockets and gunfire in one of the most serious assaults on the capital in the past decade.
Clinton and Khar “discussed the cowardly attacks in Afghanistan,” the statement said, adding, “(Clinton) underscored our shared responsibility for robust action ... to confront and defeat terrorists and violent extremists.”
Clinton, who was visiting Brazil’s capital, also discussed the “next steps in the US-Pakistani dialogue” following the conclusion of a Pakistani parliamentary review, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.
The Pentagon also issued a statement on Monday, saying the attacks in Afghanistan were likely carried out by Haqqani terrorists who operate from sanctuaries in neighbouring Pakistan.
“Initial indications are that the Haqqani network was involved in this set of attacks that occurred yesterday in Kabul,” press secretary George Little said of Sunday’s assault.
The 18-hour attack was “well-coordinated,” but Afghan security forces “did a very effective job” in quelling the onslaught, Little told reporters. Afghan security forces took the lead in responding to the attack while NATO provided helicopters, he said.
It was not surprising that insurgents had launched an attack with the advent of spring, when fighting usually escalates in Afghanistan, he said. “We thought something like this may very well happen and it did,” he added.
President Asif Ali Zardari’s spokesman Senator Fahatullah Babar said the president had strongly condemned the terrorist attacks in Afghanistan. Babar said the president expressed resolve that the people and government of Pakistan would continue to stand with their Afghan brethren in their time of distress and difficulty.
Zardari expressed hope that peace would prevail in times ahead. He said that Pakistan had always desired a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan as it was in Pakistan’s own national interest and assured that Pakistan would continue to extend all possible support to every effort aimed at restoring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
The president directed Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan Muhammad Sadiq to ensure security and safety of a delegation of Pakistan’s women parliamentarian’s delegation currently on a visit to Afghanistan.
He also expressed condolence over the deaths of members of Afghan security forces and civilians. agencies