KABUL – Afghanistan lashed out at neighboring Pakistan on Monday alleging that its intelligence service and army are behind the bloody Taliban-led insurgency, calling the security forces the "world's biggest producers of terrorism and extremism."
The statement will likely strain already difficult relations between the two neighbors, whose shared porous border has become a safe-heaven for Taliban, Al Qaeda and other militant groups, whose attacks have killed thousands and are threatening the stability of both countries.
In protest of what it called "direct interference in its internal affairs," Afghanistan said it is suspending its participation in three upcoming meetings with Pakistani officials scheduled for the next few weeks.
The statement accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence of involvement in a number of recent attacks in the country — an attempted assassination of President Hamid Karzai in April, the July 7 suicide bomb attack outside Indian Embassy in Kabul that left over 60 people killed and a spate of suicide bombings and roadside bombs blamed on Taliban militants.
Pakistan's top military spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, declined to comment, referring a request for reaction to the foreign ministry.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Sadiq, who was in London en route home from an official visit to the United States, was not immediately available for comment.
"Everyday and all over our country, children, women, clerics, teachers, as well as international workers in Afghanistan ... are killed and wounded and disabled," the statement said.
The intelligence service "and Pakistan's Army have become the world's biggest producers of terrorism and extremism," it said.
In the past, Afghanistan has accused Pakistani intelligence of supporting the Taliban insurgency, a charge repeatedly denied by Pakistan's leaders. Pakistan contends it is being blamed for the failings of Karzai's government, which is widely criticized by Afghans as ineffective and corrupt.
Pakistan was once a key backer of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, but formally abandoned its support after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States. Still, Taliban leaders are suspected of receiving shelter in Pakistan's religiously conservative tribal region.
U.S. officials have blamed rising violence in Afghanistan on peace deals that Pakistan's new government has negotiated in its tribal regions along the border.