Karzai, Aziz Discuss Pakistan's Anti-Terror Plan Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz meets in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in an attempt to ease growing tensions between their two countries over how they fight terrorism. The two leaders held the hastily-arranged talks after tensions flared over Pakistan's plans to mine and fence part of its long border with Afghanistan.
NPR logo

Karzai, Aziz Discuss Pakistan's Anti-Terror Plan

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6724739/6724740" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Karzai, Aziz Discuss Pakistan's Anti-Terror Plan

Karzai, Aziz Discuss Pakistan's Anti-Terror Plan

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6724739/6724740" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, host:

And I'm Michele Norris.

Pakistan wants to fortify its border with Afghanistan with fences and mine fields to keep terrorists out. But Afghanistan doesn't like the idea, and tensions between the two countries are growing over the issue.

It's part of a broader disagreement over how to fight terrorism. So today, Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai to try to work it out.

NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Kabul.

SORAYA NELSON: That Afghans and Pakistanis don't like each other these days was evident even before President Karzai and Prime Minister Aziz emerged from their hastily arranged meeting at the presidential compound. At the conference hall where the two were to meet, an Afghan official and Pakistani journalist erupted into a tussle over seething. The Afghan finally shouted, what kind of a Muslim are you that would lie. To which the Pakistani journalist shot back, what kind of Muslim are you to let America occupy your land.

The exchange was more cordial but nonetheless tense when the Afghan and Pakistani leaders emerged to tell reporters about their differences over Pakistan's decision to mine and fence their mutual border.

Donning rigid smiles and standing apart, it was clear they hadn't resolved those differences. President Karzai.

President HAMID KARZAI (Afghanistan): (Through translator) Unfortunately, the gaps are increasing between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is with lots of regret that I say our relations face a lack of trust between two neighbors, two very close nations.

NELSON: The two nations are at odds about the growing violence in Afghanistan. Afghans accuse Pakistan, a key ally in the U.S. war on terror, of not doing enough to stop attacks by the Taliban. Afghan officials in the Western military coalition here believe the insurgents hide and train on Pakistani soil before launching attacks in Afghanistan.

Pakistan, on the other hand, says it's doing a lot more than it's being given credit for. Officials there say Afghanistan must do more to stop illegal crossings into Pakistan in the first place. So in a move many here believe was a slap at Karzai over his diatribe against his country's eastern neighbor, Pakistan announced last month that it would seal off parts the border.

Pakistan's Prime Minister Aziz explained that decision.

Prime Minister SHAUKAT AZIZ (Pakistan): We are exploring many options, including fencing and mining selectively, to discourage people from going across the border, people who are not welcome on the other side. And we believe that selective fencing and mining can help achieve this objective.

NELSON: Not so, says Karzai.

President KARZAI: We do not believe that laying mines on the border will end terrorism either in Afghanistan or will reduce the effects of it in Pakistan. So we're asking for other measures.

NELSON: Key among those measures is a massive peace jerga(ph), or gathering, in which tribal leaders from both countries would meet and find ways to end the insurgency. Pakistan is lukewarm to that idea, which Karzai pitched at the White House in October. It prefers a smaller meeting of the tribes that straddle the frontier.

But Aziz agrees that the two sides need to step up their efforts to address the lack of trust between them. As a start, he pledged $50 million more in aid to Afghanistan.

Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Kabul.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.