South Asia

Karzai suggests West not acting over Pakistan Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has suggested Western allies are unwilling to move against the Pakistan Taliban.

He said the fight against terrorists should focus on their training, funding and sanctuaries outside Afghanistan.

Asked about Pakistan's alleged support for the Taliban, he suggested the West could strike, adding: "The question now is why they are not taking action?"

He also warned that the recent Wikileaks dossier case had endangered Afghan informants' lives.

Wikileaks said it had removed the names of informants contained in the US military files that it published, but it has since emerged that hundreds of names have been exposed online.

The classified documents on the website also carried allegations that Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence spy agency was secretly helping the Afghan insurgency.

Drone attacks

Mr Karzai told a news conference on Thursday in Kabul: "The war against terrorism is not in the villages or houses of Afghanistan... but in the sanctuaries, sources of funding and training [of terrorism] and they lie outside Afghanistan."

Asked about claims of support from Islamabad for the Taliban, he said: "It is a different question whether Afghanistan has the ability to tackle this, but our allies have this capability; the question now is why they are not taking action?"

His comments came as British Prime Minister David Cameron, on an official trip to India, was forced on Thursday to defend his remarks a day earlier criticising Pakistan's record in tackling militancy.

The US is already directly targeting al-Qaeda and Taliban militants in north-west Pakistan, close to the Afghan border, through air strikes from drone aircraft.

'Irresponsible and shocking'

Last week, a BBC investigation found more than 700 people had died in such raids since President Barack Obama took office in January last year.

Ties between Kabul and Islamabad have been tense in recent years, amid allegations of a Pakistani role in militant attacks in Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai has reached out to his neighbour, referring to the two countries as "brothers".

However, the BBC's Bilal Sarwary in Kabul says the president will also bear in mind that anti-Pakistani feeling remains high in his country, which holds parliamentary elections in September.

Afghan media and politicians last month accused Mr Karzai of appeasing Pakistan after he sacked his own intelligence chief, Amrullah Saleh.

Our correspondent says Islamabad had for years sought the removal of Mr Saleh, who had publicly accused Pakistan's spy agency of sponsoring Taliban attacks in Afghanistan.

In Thursday's news conference, Mr Karzai also said that the Wikileaks disclosures on Afghan informants were "extremely irresponsible and shocking".

When more than 90,000 intelligence documents appeared on the website this week, those responsible said they were holding back 15,000 files that could threaten the lives of individuals.

But it has since emerged that the names, home villages and even GPS locations of Afghans co-operating with Nato forces had actually been published by Wikileaks.