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Afghan Pledge to Pakistan

[News from SCI]

Afghans ready to fight for Pakistan, minister says

    ISLAMABAD, Oct 8 (Reuter) - An official in the Afghan government has told
Pakistan it could furnish at least one million armed men to help Islamabad
fight external aggression, Pakistani Interior Minister Naseerullah Babar said
on Saturday. 
    He told a news conference he had received the assurance from a
``responsible person'' in the Afghan government when he led a Pakistani
delegation through western Afghanistan late last month to explore an overland
trade route to Central Asia. 
    Babar said he told officials in Afghanistan and the Central Asian
republics that they would be able to use a land route to southeast Asia via
Pakistan and India once Islamabad's dispute with Delhi over Kashmir had been
    ``They understood this and we asked them to play their part and role (for
a Kashmir solution),'' he said. 
    ``But one message was very clear and that came from the Afghans -- and a
very responsible person made it -- that at least a million people armed with
sophisticated weapons and fully trained would be available in the event there
is an attack on Pakistan,'' he said, declining to name the Afghan official. 
    Tension has run high between arch-enemies Pakistan and India since 1990
over a separatist Moslem revolt in the two-thirds of Kashmir ruled by India. 
    Pakistan controls the remaining third of the region over which the
countries have fought two of their three wars since their independence from
Britain in 1947. 
    Pakistan played host to more than three million Afghan refugees and most
of the guerrilla groups during their 14-year war against a former
Soviet-backed government in Kabul. 
    The Islamic mujahideen guerrillas took power in April 1992 after the
communist government collapsed, but have since been embroiled in fierce
fighting which has pitted the forces of President Burhanuddin Rabbani against
those of Prime Minister Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and General Abdul Rashid Dostum.

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