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Afghanistan threatens Pakistan with cross-bor -

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ASHLEY HALL: Afghanistan's President has issued a forceful warning to neighbouring countries that
his nation has the right to defend itself, and it will go after and kill Taliban militants
operating out of Pakistan.

Hamid Karzai has long been vocal in his criticism of Pakistan for failing to keep militants from
crossing into Afghanistan, but this is the first time he's threatened to launch cross-border raids.

There are doubts though about whether President Karzai has the ability or even the intention to
ever follow through on the threat.

Barbara Miller has our report.

BARBARA MILLER: It was supposed to be a news conference focusing on the international donors
conference for Afghanistan held on Thursday in Paris.

But that event was soon overshadowed by a dramatic attack on a jail in Kandahar province.

Militants blew up the gate, allowing hundreds of prisoners to escape, many of them Taliban
fighters.

It was a further blow to a leader who's been much criticised recently for failing to reign in the
insurgency. And Hamid Karzai's frustration about the existence of safe havens for Taliban militants
in Pakistan's border region boiled over.

President Karzai threatened to launch cross-border raids, and named a top Taliban leader Baitullah
Mehsud as top of the hit list.

HAMID KARZAI: Afghanistan has the right of self-defence when they cross the territory from Pakistan
to come and kill Afghans and kill coalition troops. It exactly gives us the right to go back and do
the same. Therefore, Baitullah Mehsud should know that we go after him now and hit him in his
house.

BARBARA MILLER: It was the strongest language on the issue to date from President Karzai.

But the journalist and author Jason Bourke, who has travelled extensively in Afghanistan, says he's
not surprised by President Karzai's response to the jail break.

JASON BOURKE: There's been a perpetual game of diplomatic tit for tat between Kabul and Islamabad.
Whenever there's that kind of incident, the rhetoric is cranked up - the Afghans blame the
Pakistanis, the Pakistanis has in the past blamed the Afghans. Each time the rhetoric gets a bit
noisier, but in terms of actual facts on the ground, nothing much materialises.

BARBARA MILLER: Peter Mayer, Associate Professor of Politics Adelaide University doubts President
Karzai will follow through on the threat.

PETER MAYER: I think this is a sabre rattling. I'm not sure actually that the Afghani army at this
stage of its training is actually capable of sustaining an incursion into Pakistan. This is a very
inhospitable country, it's almost impossible to prevent people from coming in and going out.
There's evidence, or I think there a suggestions, that some elements in the Pakistani Army may
still be assisting or in some ways complicit with some of the activities of the Taliban wishing to
keep their influence with that group.

So, Karzai has valid grounds for complaint that the Taliban do have a sanctuary in Pakistan. But
whether he and the Afghani Army actually have any capability to engage in hot pursuit is something
I'm pretty doubtful about.

BARBARA MILLER: Hamid Karzai's frustration about the safe havens in border regions of Pakistan is
shared by Washington.

On Friday the outgoing US Commander in Afghanistan, General Dan McNeill, said stabilising
Afghanistan would be impossible without a more robust military campaign against the insurgent
havens.

But in Islamabad, where a civilian government has been in power for several months, a different
tactic for dealing with the militants is being tested.

Peter Mayer from Adelaide University says that presents the US with something of a dilemma.

PETER MAYER: What's happened since the election of the democratic government is that they've taken
a quite different strategy. They've tried to engage with the Taliban and that's got them going at a
different direction the United States would like them to go, which was to keep up that pressure.

So, I think at this moment it's quite difficult for the United States. I think they're going to
have to crack their policy quite carefully. They're supporting a democratic government, it's what
they want, but they have a government whose ideas about how to deal with terrorism problem is quite
different from their own.

BARBARA MILLER: Last week, 11 Pakistani soldiers were killed in an American attack on Taliban
insurgents in the border region to Afghanistan.

It's still not clear exactly how that happened, but the incident suggests at the least poor
communication and coordination between American and Pakistan troops in the area.

As both countries tried to ease the tensions created by the deaths, a Pentagon official said the
troops were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

ASHLEY HALL: Barbara Miller with that report.