KABUL, Afghanistan, AP -Afghanistan’s foreign minister claimed Sunday that Taliban leaders are living in Pakistan and coordinating terror strikes against Afghanistan from there — the latest barb between the neighbors who are both U.S. allies in the war on terror.
Rangeen Dadfar Spanta’s comments at a press conference in Kabul came after some of the deadliest violence here since the ouster of the Taliban in 2001. A car bombing in Kabul on Sunday killed at least three people.
“The leadership of the Taliban and other terror groups are living in Pakistan,” he said.
Asked if the rebel commanders were coordinating attacks inside Afghanistan from there, Spanta said, “Exactly, that is the case.
“The movement and the communication during these terrorist attacks is from the other side” of the frontier, he said.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao dismissed the allegation.
“We deny the Taliban leaders are here,” he said. “These kind of allegations will not help relations” between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Afghan-Pakistan relations soured earlier this year amid Kabul’s accusations that Pakistan was doing too little to stop Taliban and al-Qaida militants hiding on its side of the border from crossing into Afghanistan to stage attacks.
Pakistan and Afghanistan share a long border where Afghan and U.S. officials say remnants of the ousted Taliban regime are hiding. Osama bin Laden is also believed to be hiding in the mountainous region.
Spanta’s comments came three days after President Hamid Karzai claimed Pakistani students were being taught to go to Afghanistan to burn down schools or medical clinics.
The often touchy relations between the neighbors deteriorated in February after Karzai gave Pakistan a list of Taliban figures supposedly hiding inside Pakistan and the locations of alleged terrorist training camps.
After Afghan officials publicized that they had shared the intelligence, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf retorted that the information was outdated and maintained that Pakistan — a former supporter of the Taliban militia — was doing all it could to stop militants from launching cross-border attacks.