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. Afghanistan to look into Pakistan nuclear dumping claims

Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Kabul (AFP) July 16, 2008
President Hamid Karzai appointed Wednesday a team of experts to investigate allegations that Pakistan had dumped nuclear waste in southern Afghanistan, his office said.

In April, an Afghan minister told the BBC that his government had evidence Pakistan had buried its nuclear waste in the southern Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar during the 1996-2001 Taliban regime.

But the minister for parliamentary affairs, Farouk Wardak, later denied he had said this. Pakistan has also rejected the claim.

Karzai however has now set up, through presidential decree, a team of experts to investigate "rumours" of nuclear dumping, a statement from his office said.

"The delegation is assigned to thoroughly investigate the possible burying of nuclear waste using scientific, technical and residents' observations in suspected areas," it said.

The team was comprised of experts, security forces and intelligence agents, the decree said.

Relations between the neighbours are at a new low after Karzai directly accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of having a hand in a wave of bloody attacks, notably the suicide bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul last week.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Wednesday condemned Afghanistan's president for the remarks, saying they "will hamper the development process in the region."

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Pakistan tells court it wants more restrictions on A.Q. Khan
Islamabad (AFP) July 15, 2008
Pakistan's government on Tuesday sought to tighten restrictions on nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan in response to a court challenge by his wife seeking his release from house arrest.

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