Afghanistan president pleas to U.N. to destory terrorist sanctuaries

KABUL, Afghanistan – Clashes and bombings killed 34 Taliban fighters and one policeman in Afghanistan, while President Hamid Karzai told the U.N. yesterday that terrorist sanctuaries elsewhere must be destroyed to eliminate the violence engulfing his country.

In a clear reference to neighboring Pakistan, Karzai told the United Nation’s General Assembly in New York that “terrorism does not emanate from within Afghanistan” but that his country “is its worst victim.”

“We must destroy terrorist sanctuaries beyond Afghanistan, dismantle the elaborate networks in the region,” he told world leaders. “We must ensure that political currents and entities in the region are not allowed to use extremism as an instrument of policy.”

Karzai’s call for military action against terror cells outside Afghanistan comes about two weeks after Pakistan signed a truce with Taliban-linked militants in the tribal North West Frontier Province where the government has little control.

Under the terms of that deal, Pakistani troops agreed to end their military campaign against fighters in North Waziristan, while the militants said they would halt their attacks on Pakistani forces and stop crossing into Afghanistan to launch ambushes.

Afghan officials repeatedly accuse Pakistan of not doing enough to stem the flow of insurgents and weapons across the border. Pakistan, which has deployed 80,000 troops along the porous border, rejects the accusation and says it does all it can.

In Washington, NATO’s top commander, U.S. Gen. James L. Jones, said after weeks of prodding, European nations have agreed to provide more troops for the alliance in Afghanistan. Romania has agreed to send a battalion in October, and the United Kingdom and Canada are adding to their forces, Jones said.

Police, meanwhile, recovered the bodies of seven suspected Taliban fighters after a two-hour clash with police early yesterday in a mountainous southern region of Helmand province, district police chief Ghulam Rasool said.

NATO-led soldiers killed up to 10 suspected insurgents in Helmand’s Garmser district Tuesday, a NATO statement said. There were no NATO casualties.

Afghanistan has been suffering its heaviest insurgent attacks since the Taliban regime was toppled in late 2001. On Monday, three bombings killed at least 19 people, including four Canadian soldiers.