S. Asian nations vow to jointly fight terrorism
Eight South Asian countries, most of which are facing violent insurgencies, agreed Thursday to pool efforts to fight terrorism, a Sri Lankan government minister said.
The decision came ahead of a weekend summit in the Sri Lankan capital at which India and Afghanistan are expected to put pressure on Pakistan to do more to combat the militancy that has rattled all three nations.
Foreign ministers from the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation also approved draft agreements on Thursday on launching a regional development fund of US$307 million and a food bank amid skyrocketing food prices, Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama told reporters.
Pakistan is grappling with restive tribal regions along its border with Afghanistan, where fighting between insurgents and government troops intensified this week. The government in Kabul is facing a resurgent Taliban-led militancy, and a spate of bombings has hit India in recent weeks.
But cooperation in combatting terrorism is likely to face roadblocks amid accusations from India and Afghanistan that Pakistan may be behind recent violence, including a huge bombing outside the Indian Embassy in Kabul on July 7.
(…) The summit — which represents one-fifth of the world’s population and many of its most impoverished — is comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.