A senior Pakistan army commander blamed a lack of control by U.S. and Afghan forces over parts of Afghanistan as Taliban movement activates ahead of crucial parliamentary elections.
Lt. Gen. Safdar Hussain, who is leading thousands of troops in a hunt for militants in northwestern Pakistan along the Afghan border, claimed that no fighters are entering Afghanistan from Pakistan.
He said the surge in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, ahead of Sunday's vote, is due to a lack of authority by the Afghan National Army and the U.S.-led coalition in parts of the country.
"They have not given the effort to (secure) the east and south that they have to the center and west of Afghanistan," he said. Attacks by Taliban rebels have been particularly numerous in the east and south, much of which border Pakistan.
U.S. and Afghan officials have said Taliban militants enter Afghanistan through Pakistan's tribal regions.
Hussain said an additional 5,000 Pakistani troops were deployed in July to secure the border before the Afghan vote. That is in addition to more than 70,000 troops already in frontier areas to track down terror suspects.
"There is no infiltration going on from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Afghanistan should take equal measures to see that infiltration does not happen on either side of the border," he said.
Patrolling along the Afghan border has been increased, and troops are in posts that have been set up every 1 kilometer on the 600-kilometer part of the frontier under his command, Hussain said.
Hussain's comments came after a major offensive against militant suspects in North Waziristan, which borders Afghanistan, the AP reports.
Presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak, who was accredited for the press conference by Vladimir Putin from Dozhd (Rain) television channel, asked Putin about competition at the coming election
On December 14, President Putin holds his annual Q&A session with Russian and foreign journalists. This conference is considered to be the beginning of his presidential campaign