Afghan Leaders: Pakistan Behind Bloodshed

Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government on Monday directly accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of being behind a recent series of attacks by Taliban militants that has killed scores of people, reports CBS News' Sami Yousafzai.

After a high level meeting with his aides and cabinet members focusing on the country's diminishing law and order, Karzai blamed Pakistan's premier spy agency, the ISI, and the Pakistani army for the increasing instability in Afghanistan.

A statement from the cabinet sent to CBS News said Afghan leaders had done their best during the last six-and-a-half years to stay away from a war of words with Pakistan and maintain a friendly relationship with its neighbor. But, according to the statement, the ISA and Pakistan's army have continued to interfere in Afghanistan's internal affairs.

The press release said Afghanistan had suffered tremendous losses due to the intrusion of Pakistani spies.

"Every day, in each and every corner of the country, our children, women, Ulema (clerics), teachers and workers from the international community have been killed by the plots of the ISI agency," the release said. "Our schools and hospitals are being torched."

The statement, provided to CBS News by the cabinet secretary, claimed the people of Afghanistan and "the international community" were now sure that Pakistan has "not only become a safe haven for terrorists but it also exports terrorism."

"We supported the recent elections in Pakistan with the hope that the new government would watch the activities of the ISI and would take practical steps in stop ISI from interfering in the internal dealings of Afghanistan," the statement said.

It went on to claim that, far from stopping the alleged interference, the ISI's "attacks on our citizens, on the workers of the international community in our country, and on our soldiers" have actually increased under the new leadership.

The cabinet implicated Pakistan's spy agency in a string of recent attacks, including the Kandahar jailbreak, the beheading of Afghans in the Bajaur and Waziristan provinces of Pakistan, a recent suicide blast in Uruzghan province and the deadly bombing at the Indian embassy in Kabul.

Karzai's ministers warned that unless Pakistan's leaders verifiably reign-in the spy agency, upcoming talks scheduled between the two countries on assistance along the border region and economic cooperation will be postponed.

Afghan political analyst Ahmad Saad Saedi, who served recently as a diplomat in Pakistan, told Yousafzai that Karzai should take a clear stand on Pakistan's interference in Afghanistan's domestic affairs.

"Pakistan plays the role of an arrogant and self-serving regional power and believes strongly that Afghanistan would harm Pakistan, which is why it does not want peace in Afghanistan," Saedi added.

Saedi urged the U.S. to pressure Pakistan to stop inciting violence in Afghanistan.

In a sign of the rapidly rising tension between the two countries, a couple Afghan ministers have suggested withdrawing the country's ambassador to Islamabad temporarily as a sign of protest, according to a source inside Karzai's administration.
By Sami Yousafzai