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Karzai lashes out at Pakistan over ''suicide bombing'' statement by cleric

Karzai lashes out at Pakistan over ''suicide bombing'' statement by cleric Islamabad, Mar. 5 : Afghan President Hamid Karzai has lashed out once again at Pakistan, saying that a statement by a Pakistani cleric endorsing suicide bombings in Afghanistan shows that the neighbouring country is not sincere in efforts to fight terrorism.

Karzai, while speaking at a press conference with visiting NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, said that Afghanistan wants a real struggle against terrorism and wants the Pakistani government to realise that both the nations are burning in the same fire, reports The Nation.

Karzai made the comment in response to a question about a statement last week by the head of All Pakistan Ulema Council who had been scheduled to travel to Afghanistan for a meeting of the two countries'' religious leaders.

The cleric, Tahir Mehmood Ashrafi of the All Pakistan Ulema Council, said in a television interview that suicide attacks in Afghanistan are lawful because NATO troops are invaders that have occupied the country.

Karzai noted that Ashrafi was appointed to the delegation by the Pakistani government, implying that the government in Islamabad was backing his views.

Ashrafi said that his comments had been taken out of context and that he considered suicide bombings un-Islamic.

He said that he was asked in an interview about his views on suicide bombings in Afghanistan and said that it was natural that people would fight back when their homes were occupied but that didn''t necessarily mean suicide bombings.

Ashrafi said Karzai''s statement has shut the door to the Pakistani clerics taking part in the planned conference of religious leaders.

He said the conference will not take place until Karzai and the Afghan government apologise.

Fogh Rasmussen also condemned the cleric''s statement and called on Pakistan to do more to rein in the extremist militants along its borders. (ANI)