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Despite peace efforts, Afghan violence on rise

A Blackhawk helicopter brought injured Canadian soldiers to Kandahar, Afghanistan, after an attack on a NATO convoy. A Blackhawk helicopter brought injured Canadian soldiers to Kandahar, Afghanistan, after an attack on a NATO convoy. (Peter Andrews / reuters)
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Rahim Faiez
Associated Press / May 26, 2008

KABUL, Afghanistan - Insurgent activity is rising in Afghanistan despite recent peace agreements between the new government of neighboring Pakistan and Islamic militants in a tribal area along the countries' border, a NATO official said yesterday.

Meanwhile, a suicide bomber struck a Canadian military convoy in southern Afghanistan and killed a boy, while a US-led coalition soldier was killed in an operation in the west, officials said.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide attack.

Mark Laity, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization spokesman said militant violence in Afghanistan seems to be getting worse as Pakistan pursues peace with militants in an effort to end the bombings that have killed hundreds of Pakistanis in recent years.

"We respect the sovereignty of Pakistan, absolutely, but it is important that they take into account the need to ensure that any agreements they make do not lead to an increase in violence in Afghanistan," Laity said.

"We understand their desire to come to peace agreements with militants, but there is no real solution if trouble on one side of the [border] is merely transferred to the other side," he said.

Laity's comments came a day after Pakistan's top Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, said he was sending fighters to battle US troops in Afghanistan even as he sought peace with Pakistan. Mehsud is based in South Waziristan, part of Pakistan's tribal belt regarded as an Al Qaeda refuge.

Information Minister Sherry Rehman said Wednesday that the government was only "negotiating with peaceful representative groups, not with terrorists."

Western officials, however, have expressed concern that any deals would simply allow Taliban and Al Qaeda militants to execute more attacks in Afghanistan and plot terror strikes in the West.

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