ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan's foreign minister Tuesday rejected Aghanistan's insistence on holding direct talks on the pullout of Soviet troops from Afghanistan.
Sahabzada Yaqub Khan told a joint Parliament session during a debate that the demand for direct talks is "untenable and unacceptable."
A sixth round of indirect talks between Pakistani and Afghan foreign ministers through a U.N. mediator was suspended in Geneva last week after Kabul insisted on direct talks.
Yaqub Khan told Parliament that Pakistan will not recognize the Afghan government of President Babrak Karmal because it was installed by Soviet military intervention six years ago.
"We cannot accept as legitimate the presence of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, nor can we recognize Babrak Karmal, who was brought into Kabul by Soviet tanks," he said.
The Soviet Union has an estimated 115,000 troops in Afghanistan.
Most of the first speakers who followed Yaqub Khan endorsed the government policy, but a veteran legislator from Sind province, Abdul Hamid Jatoi, said Pakistan has endangered itself by antagonizing the Soviet Union.
He said Pakistan should not depend on friendship with the United States but should hold direct talks with Kabul and maintain a balance in ties with Moscow and Washington.
"If some people want to use Afghanistan to prolong their power, that will be a very costly bargain," said Jatoi, who is a member of a pro-government official parliamentary group but is outspoken on national issues.
Meanwhile, in New Delhi, a Western diplomat said Tuesday that Afghan troops cordoned off several high schools in Kabul during commencement ceremonies last week and detained graduates for compulsory military service.
The diplomat, speaking on condition that she not be identified by name, said troops fired warning shots over the heads of students who fled the sweep. She quoted "multiple sources" in the Afghan capital as saying the army operation took place Dec. 16.
About 150 students from the Lycee Esteqlal, one of the city's most prestigious high schools, "were nabbed" for induction into the army during the sweep, she said. A similar operation was conducted in Kabul last year, she said.
The report could not be independently verified.