Afghanistan, Pakistan pledge cooperation against extremism

Afghanistan and Pakistan have vowed to work more closely to combat extremism, Hamid Karzai`s office said.

Kabul: Afghanistan and Pakistan have
vowed to work more closely to combat extremism, Hamid Karzai`s
office said on Wednesday after talks between the Afghan president and
Pakistan`s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

Karzai`s office said in a statement that the pair
spoke by telephone last evening and discussed areas where the
two neighbours could cooperate more, including on economic

"Both sides emphasised more cooperation and
coordination between security institutions of the two
countries in the war against terrorism," the statement

Karzai also invited Gilani to come to Afghanistan on
an official visit for further talks, which the Pakistani prime
minister accepted, it added.

The pledge comes amid continued unrest in Afghanistan,
where more than 150,000 foreign troops are battling Taliban
insurgents whose leadership are widely believed to be based
across the border in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

US President Barack Obama, in a speech in the Indian
city of Mumbai last weekend, said that Islamabad was making
progress on tackling what he called the "cancer" of extremism
but it was not happening quickly enough.

Former US president George W Bush, in his new memoirs,
also said that Pakistan`s former president Pervez Musharraf
"either would not or could not fulfil all of his promises" on
targeting al Qaeda militants crossing over the porous border
with Afghanistan.

He blamed elements in the Pakistani intelligence
services for maintaining close ties with militants and others
who wanted an "insurance policy" in case of a US withdrawal
and any attempt by India to gain influence in Afghanistan.

For his part, Musharraf blamed India for trying to
foment trouble in Pakistan by supporting Pakistani separatists
and extending its sphere of influence in Afghanistan under the
guise of humanitarian and civilian projects.


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