World News

War faring better in Iraq than Afghanistan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-led operations are having more success in Iraq than in Afghanistan, where a porous border with Pakistan has allowed Islamist extremists to cross into the war zone, President George W. Bush said on Tuesday.

Bush also pledged U.S. assistance to investigate Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s accusation that Pakistani agents were involved in attacks in his country, including a suicide car bomb at the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 58 people. Pakistan says the accusations are baseless.

“We’ll investigate his charge and we’ll work with his service to get to the bottom of his allegation,” Bush said at a news conference.

“No question, however, that some extremists are coming out of parts of Pakistan into Afghanistan. And that’s troubling to us, it’s troubling to Afghanistan, and it should be troubling to Pakistan,” he said.

Bush said he would discuss the fight against terrorism with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani when he visits the White House this month.

“We will continue to keep the pressure on al Qaeda with our Pakistan friends,” Bush said. “I certainly hope that the government understands the dangers of extremists moving in their country. I think they do.”

Violence has soared in Afghanistan nearly seven years after the U.S.-led invasion. Some analysts say that more troops, aid and attention are needed for Afghanistan, where the Taliban last weekend killed nine U.S. soldiers in the biggest single American loss in that country since 2005.

“One front right now is going better than the other, and that’s Iraq, where we’re succeeding,” Bush said. “And Afghanistan is a tough fight.”

The situation in Afghanistan was reminiscent of Iraq a couple of years ago when “the enemy knows that they can affect the mentality of the American people if they just continue to kill innocent folks,” Bush said.

“But it is a two-front war,” he said, adding that the United States was also conducting covert operations.

Bush offered the following advice to his successor in the White House: “I would hope that whoever follows me understands that we’re at war and now is not the time to give up in the struggle against this enemy.

“And that while there hasn’t been an attack on the homeland, that’s not to say people don’t want to attack us.”

Editing by Eric Beech