President Hamid Karzai has said that his country will stand by
"brother Pakistan" if it was attacked either by the US or India,
"God forbid, if anytime war erupts between Pakistan and the United
States, we will stand by Pakistan," Karzai told Pakistan's Geo TV
in an interview, parts of which were aired Saturday evening.
The full interview, conducted at the Presidential Palace in Kabul,
will be telecast later.
"If Pakistan is attacked and if the people of Pakistan need
Afghanistan's help, Afghanistan would be there with you," Karzai
"We are your brother as Pakistan has given us shelter (during the
1979-89 occupation of Afghanistan by former Soviet Union), as
Pakistan considered us brother and gave homes and we spent time in
Pakistan with respect as refugees," he said.
Asked what Afghanistan would do if India attacked Pakistan, Karzai
said: "Anybody that attacks Pakistan, Afghanistan will stand with
Pakistan. Afghanistan will be a brother of Pakistan. Afghanistan
will never betray a brother."
He complained that the Pakistani establishment has "done a lot (of
harm) to Afghanistan" but he said "Afghanistan is still a
Karzai's comments came amid sharply increased tension between
Pakistan and the US after top American military officials
threatened unilateral military action against Pakistan-based
Afghan insurgent groups including the Haqqani network.
Karzai also dispelled the impression that Afghanistan and India
signed a strategic partnership agreement in view of the worsening
relations of his country with Pakistan following last month's
assassination of Afghan peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani.
"Now, our relations with India, our signing of the strategic
partnership with India, it did not happen at the spur of the
moment. This is something that we have been working on for years
now," the Afghan president said.
Karzai said the tensions between the US and Pakistan had not had
an impact on Kabul's attitude towards Islamabad. "You know that we
have had this engagement with Pakistan for a long time and if it
comes to a brother-to-brother relationship, you'll find that
Afghanistan will be there with you in times of difficulty," he
Karzai said his country's policies towards Pakistan would not be
dictated by any country. "Afghanistan has its own policy, its own
stand, its own clear view of things and from that point of view,
it's dealing with our brothers in Pakistan."