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Pakistan tells U.N. committed to peace in Afghanistan

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Pakistan is committed to achieving peace in neighboring Afghanistan and cooperating with the U.S. and Afghan governments, Pakistan's foreign minister told the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday.

The remarks of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar came after Pakistan warned the United States on Tuesday to stop accusing it of playing a double game with Islamist militants and heaped praise on its close friend China.

"Pakistan is willing to do its best with the international partners and, most notably, the governments of Afghanistan and the United States, to acquit itself of this high responsibility (in Afghanistan)," she told the 193-nation assembly.

The outgoing chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, last week described the Haqqani network, the most violent faction among Taliban militants in Afghanistan, as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's ISI spy agency.

He also accused Pakistan of providing support for the group's September 13 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, allegations that have infuriated Islamabad.

Khar suggested that current tensions between Pakistan and its partners were partly due to the difficulties they are all facing in their fight against terrorism, adding that it was important not to prematurely judge one's allies.

"Given the volatility of the situation, it is perhaps understandable that there is a high level of anxiety and emotions," she said.

"But we must not lose sight of the goals," Khar said. "We must work closely and as responsible partners in a cooperative manner and not rush to judgments or question each other's intentions."

PRAISE FOR PAKISTAN'S INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

Khar reiterated that she and the rest of her government "condemn the recent terror attacks in Kabul in which many precious lives were lost."

"Eliminating terrorism is in our national interest," she said. "We believe that our success is critical to regional and global peace and security."

She also praised the record of Pakistan's ISI in combating al Qaeda.

"It is well known that following the Tora Bora bombing and consequent dispersal of al Qaeda it was Pakistan's intelligence and security agencies that interdicted a large number of al Qaeda operations," Khara said.

"Very recently, (Younis) al-Mauritani, the chief operative of al Qaeda, was arrested in a joint ISI and CIA operation," she said.

Khar said her country was firmly committed to combating terrorism and militancy.

"Pakistan has reached out to all countries of the world to establish mechanims and arrangements ranging from intelligence cooperation, mutual assistance in legal and criminal matters, as well as joint operations where required," she said.

But it was vital for allies to remain united.

"We must demonstrate complete unity in ranks, avoid any recrimination, build greater trust and, more importantly, bring about the requisite operational coordination in combating this menace," she said. "Otherwise only the terrorists will gain."

(Reporting by Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Todd Eastham)

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