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Volume 453: debated on Tuesday 28 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what measures the President of Pakistan indicated would be taken to deal with the Taliban and reduce the level of activity across the border into Afghanistan during his meeting with the Prime Minister on 28 September; (101960)

(2) what representations have been received from the Pakistan Government on steps to secure the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; and what UK assistance is being considered.

President Musharraf made clear during his meeting with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 28 September at Chequers, and more recently on 19 November during my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister's visit to Pakistan, his continued commitment to combating terrorism, and support for stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has moved considerable resources to the border regions to quell insurgent activity and prevent illegal cross border traffic. In addition the Pakistani authorities continue to arrest significant numbers of Taliban members and where appropriate extradite them to Afghanistan.

As part of a common effort to counter terrorism, the Government are providing training and capacity building to the Pakistan authorities in their efforts to counter Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan.

The Government are considering how it might complement the existing US Border Management Initiative, designed to help both the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to manage border issues more effectively, in an effort to further reduce the Taliban threat.

The Government are supporting a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees project to register Afghans living in refugee camps close to the Pakistan/Afghanistan border. The ID cards project will be a significant tool for wider border management policies.

The UK also provides a wide range of bilateral and multilateral assistance to Pakistan as an important element in seeking to disrupt the activities of Afghan drug trafficking groups. This includes providing equipment and training, particularly to their Anti Narcotics Force, to assist with interdiction of opiates on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.