"There is no question of anyone abetting, but there are people at the tactical level who turn a blind eye ... and that needs to be corrected," Musharraf told reporters at a press conference.


Call to Nato

 

One example he gave was of a check-post at the Afghan border, saying it was difficult if there are only two men standing on guard and they are faced with a group of "20 well-armed, well-trained and well-motivated people challenging them".

 

But Musharraf angrily rejected allegations that Pakistan's intelligence services and the army were collaborating with the fighters.

 

"To cast aspersions on the [Pakistani] army … is absolutely wrong," he told around 100 journalists at Camp House, his official army residence.

 

Musharraf called on Nato and US forces based in Afghanistan to do more to combat the cross-border movement of fighters, adding that Pakistan could not face the challenge on its own.

 

"No one has the right to criticise unless they come up with an alternative solution ... if there is no [other] solution, we will do it our way"

Pervez Musharraf, Pakistani president

"It is also up to Nato, Isaf [international troops] … we refuse to take full responsibility for the crossing of the border."

 

"They must increase their [border] posts and hold the border more strongly."

 

A first phase would see fencing erected at seven or eight locations along Pakistan's northwest frontier and take “a few months to execute,”  Musharraf said.

 

Musharraf said that the border may eventually be mined amid Western pressure to do more to prevent Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters from using Pakistan's borderlands as a base for operations against Afghan and foreign troops on the other side.

Aerial strength
 

He said mines would not be used in the initial phase of development, but plans for a second phase included the use of both fencing and mines to secure 250km of the frontier further south, in Pakistan's Baluchistan province.

 

Meanwhile the Pakistani army took possession of eight US Cobra AH1-F helicopters at the Qasim air base near Islamabad.

The US embassy in Islamabad said another 12 Cobras are to be delivered later in a military aid package worth a total of US$50 million.

The refurbished helicopters, which are specially equipped for nighttime operations, are "important weapons in our common fight," Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador at the hand-over ceremony, according to an embassy statement.