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Pak brands NATO report on Afghan Taliban links as "old wine in an even older bottle".

Islamabad, Feb 2 ( ANI ): Pakistan has strongly turned down a NATO report about Islamabad's alleged links to the Afghan Taliban.

Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar said her country has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan, insisting that the allegations in the report were "old wine in an even older bottle".

The report titled 'State of the Taliban' is based on material from 27,000 interrogations with over 4,000 captured Taliban, al-Qaeda and other foreign fighters and civilians, the BBC reports.

It follows a denial by the Taliban that they planned to hold preliminary talks with the Afghan government in Saudi Arabia.

NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) spokesman Brig Gen Carsten Jacobson, cautioned: "It is a compilation of investigations, of interrogations straight after detainment so we cannot really put that high a value on what they are saying, as they are talking about their perception of the campaign, what they believe, how the campaign is going and what they want us to believe how the campaign is going."

He added that there was "no reason for ISAF or the coalition to believe that there is anything to be changed" and that the insurgency remained "clearly on the back foot".

The report stressed that Pakistan is aware of the location of senior Taliban leaders.

"Pakistan's manipulation of the Taliban senior leadership continues unabatedly. Senior Taliban representatives, such as Nasiruddin Haqqani, maintain residences near the ISI headquarters in Islamabad," it added.

Branding NATO's move as "a potentially strategic leak," Khar said that "These claims have been made many, many times. Pakistan stands behind any initiative that the Afghan government takes for peace.

She said Pakistan has "no hidden agenda in Afghanistan," adding that both Islamabd and Kabul should stop blaming each other for cross-border problems.

"We consider any threat to Afghanistan's independence and sovereignty as a threat to Pakistan's existence," she added. ( ANI )

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Publication:Asian News International
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 2, 2012
Words:327
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