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Securing Afghanistan's Border

Police in Pakistan detained twenty-eight Afghan nationals suspected of being Taleban insurgents. A Pakistani police spokesman said the suspects were arrested in Quetta, near the border with Afghanistan. Fifty other Taleban suspects were arrested in Quetta in October. Authorities in Afghanistan say the Taleban uses Quetta for cross-border attacks.

Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri says Pakistan has "zero tolerance for terrorists," and has brought some seven-hundred al-Qaida members to justice since 2001. Some six-hundred Pakistani soldiers have died fighting al-Qaida terrorists, Taleban insurgents, and their allies. Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf says his country's efforts to deny haven to the Taleban have not achieved "one hundred percent success." Mr. Musharaff says, "the Taleban problem is an Afghan problem. . . .being supported by elements from this side. We need to put our house in order on our side."

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher says "on both sides of the borders we need to extend the writ of the government, the authority of the government, to the edges of the border." Mr. Boucher says a better job must be done on the Afghan side of the border to extend "the benefits of government to the people who live in those areas." These include security, justice, economic opportunity, and basic services such as roads and electricity. "Bringing better governance as well as security is," says Mr. Boucher, "a central part of solving the problems in southern Afghanistan."

On the Pakistan side of the border, Mr. Boucher says, the U.S. supports economic development for the tribal areas and efforts by the Pakistani government "to try to ensure that this is a peaceful area for people to develop and to live normal lives."

Concerning the ongoing threat from Taleban insurgents, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Boucher says, "there is still fighting to be done on the Afghan side." For that reason, he says, "NATO is there: Afghan forces are there; the United States is there."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.