Dutch envoy hopes Pakistan help in preventing attacks in Afghanistan

The Dutch foreign minister on Tuesday called for closer cooperation with Pakistan in preventing suicide attacks in Afghanistan , where more than 1,400 Dutch troops will deploy this summer. "We hope that by cooperating closely, by exchanging all the information ... we can prevent attacks" in Afghanistan , Bernard Bot told a news conference in Islamabad after talks with his Pakistani counterpart Khursheed Kasuri.

Pakistan , a key ally of the United States , has deployed over 80,000 troops in tribal areas bordering Afghanistan . But Afghan officials often say that Pakistan should do more to stop Taliban militants from launching cross-border attacks. Bot said they were "concerned about the increase of suicide bombers because that constitutes a direct to the safety of our troops."

The Netherlands is due to send between 1,400 and 1,600 troops to Afghanistan 's Uruzgan province from July for two years as part of a deployment of NATO security forces into the volatile south of the country where suicide attacks targeting Afghan and foreign forces have become a daily occurrence. Despite the declining security situation, Bot said the Dutch forces would be in Afghanistan to promote development, not fight.

"We are not there to fight. We are there for stabilization and reconstruction," Bot said. "We hope that the people there will not fight us." Bot said that the Pakistan-Afghan border was porous with a lot of contacts between tribes on either side. "It is important that we exchange information and that is why I launched my appeal to my colleague to help us," he said.

Kasuri assured Bot that Pakistan would give all the support his country needed. The Pakistani minister reiterated a proposal, previously rejected by Afghanistan , that Islamabad was ready to fence and lay land mines near the Afghan border to stop militant movement.

"Afghan and American troops should mine the border and fence of their side," he said, adding "let there be no excuses." Pakistan was once a main supporter of Afghanistan 's former Taliban regime, but President Gen. Pervez Musharraf switched sides after the Sept. 11 attacks in America , and now backs President Hamid Karzai's government although Afghan officials remain suspicious that elements of Pakistan 's intelligence services retain ties to the hardline militia. Pakistan denies the charge, reports the AP.

N.U.