KABUL - President Hamid Karzai on Saturday has said that Afghanistan has never recognized the Durand Line.
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul after the recent border clashes between the Afghan and Pakistani forces, President Karzai said Pakistani military installations across the Durand Line in the Afghan territory was an “futile attempt” to push Kabul to discuss the border issue with Islamabad, something President Karzai said his government “will never be ready for it.”
"They [the Afghan people] should stand with this young man who was martyred in defending his soil,” Karzai said, referring to a slain Afghan border policeman, Mohammad Qasim, who was killed Wednesday night in a border gunfire with Pakistani forces.
There were reports that two Pakistani soldiers were also wounded in the exchange of fire.
The Afghan president praised a nation-wide reaction of the Afghan people in encouraging their armed forces to defend their country, calling on the Taliban to “turn their weapons against the enemies of their properties.”
Karzai's remarks are likely to unsettle already shaky ties with Pakistan and come as the US wants Pakistan to help Afghanistan persuade the Taliban to engage in peace talks ahead of the withdrawal of most foreign troops by the end of next year.
Afghanistan and Pakistan have had testy relations since Pakistan was formed in 1947, at the end of British colonial rule over India.
In the press conference, Karzai also confirmed the CIA cash payments to his government and said the director of the CIA assured him that regular funding his government receives from the agency will not be cut off.
“Afghanistan has been receiving such funding for more than 10 years and expressed hope that it will not stop,” Karzai said.
The New York Times in an article revealed that several Afghan officials at President Karzai's office have been on the CIA's payroll since the beginning of the war twelve years ago.
Correction: TOLOnews initially misquoted President Karzai that he ordered the fire on Pakistani installations, which he said he did not. (Tolo News)