Pakistanis fearing new influx from Afghanistan: WP

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WASHINGTON: Pakistanis fear that a stepped-up war in Afghanistan could bring more deaths and destruction to their country, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The report, sent by the Post correspondent from the areas bordering Afghanistan, notes that as 30,000 additional US troops start arriving in the war-ravaged country, the Pakistanis get more nervous.

"Residents in border areas such as the violence-plagued city of Peshawar worry that a tide of militants could flee Afghanistan to seek targets in Pakistan," the Post noted. "Doubts linger among Pakistani security officials about the Americans' ability to intensify the campaign against the Taliban without further destabilising Pakistan's vast south-western border or the already volatile tribal areas in the northwest."

US officials disagree with that assessment, the Post noted, which reflected the undercurrents of mistrust between allies whose relationship President Barack Obama has called crucial to success in Afghanistan.

The report noted that a wave of bombings had swept Pakistan since October, devastating Peshawar but also reaching far beyond the troubled northwest. "Attacks on places believed to be safe, such as the military headquarters in Rawalpindi and a popular market in the eastern city of Lahore, have struck fear into the population."

The report, however, quoted US military officials as saying that they were working closely with Pakistan's security forces ahead of the troop increase. The Post noted that a stream of top US officials had visited Pakistan to seek support for the strategy.

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