(Prague, Czech Republic--April 12, 2005) Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz of Pakistan sent a strong message to Afghanistan during an RFE/RL interview about security issues, bilateral relations and refugees. In the exclusive interview, Aziz said that Afghanistan must deal with its own security and border issues and that Pakistan has already given considerable assistance to its northern neighbor. "No other country has done more for Afghanistan than Pakistan has," Aziz said.
Aziz spoke in Islamabad to a Kabul-based correspondent for RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. The interview, conducted in Urdu, was translated and broadcast today in Pashto and Dari to Afghanistan. Excerpts were also used by other RFE/RL services and a full English language translation
of the interview has been posted to Radio Free Afghanistan's website.
Aziz said Pakistan has taken action in the tribal border region between the two countries and is not supporting terrorism: "What we have done in the tribal areas has worked for Pakistan; we are not telling you to run your country this way. But it is clear that security, law and order is what Afghanistan will have to take care of. Nobody in the Pakistani government is encouraging such elements -- there is absolutely no question there." Aziz strongly denied reports of Pakistani support for the Taliban, saying "there is no support from here." He said Pakistan wants to see a strong, stable Afghanistan and has a special relationship with its neighbor, because of the many links and dependencies among its peoples. Aziz said trade between the two countries is to be encouraged for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Radio Free Afghanistan, the Dari- and Pashto-language service of RFE/RL, broadcasts 12 hours of programming a day, with programs produced in Prague and the service's Kabul Bureau and transmitted to listeners via shortwave, satellite and AM and FM signals provided by the International Broadcasting Bureau. Radio Free Afghanistan programming is also available via the Internet, at the service's trilingual website www.azadiradio.org
and at www.rferl.org