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Afghanistan Blames Pakistan for Upswing in Taliban Violence

United Nations: Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations says Pakistan is behind the recent upswing in Taliban violence including a bomb packed into an ambulance last week that killed 103 people.

The car bombing and a hotel siege that ended with 22 people dead a week earlier are widely thought to have come in response to the U.S. administration’s announcement earlier this month that it was suspending nearly all security aide to Pakistan _ a move that could cost them as much as $1.3 billion in aid this year.

Pakistan’s support for extremist groups has been source of tension with the United States ever since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. Nor is this the first time a U.S. President has cut off military aid in an attempt to rein-in Taliban support, but such moves have failed to bring about a change in policy and Pakistan has typically reacted by ramping up violence in Afghanistan.

US Ambassador Nikki Haley, back from a Security Council trip to Kabul, brushed off Pakistani intransigence and declared the U.S. Afghanistan policy a success, that would pave the for peace talks. Ambassador Saikal said the trip let the international community know how important it was that Pakistan close down it’s safe havens for terrorists.

Experts warn that efforts to punish Pakistan for its support of the Taliban could badly backfire because the country can effectively shut down U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan.Following the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan shut down overland supply routes into Afghanistan, forcing the U.S. to rely on Russia for access _ something that may not be possible now with the deteriorating relations between Washington and Moscow.

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