12/27/2007, 00.00
PAKISTAN-AFGHANISTAN
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Karzai to Islamabad: cooperation in the fight against terrorism

The Afghan president yesterday made an official visit to Pakistan: the two countries announced a plan of collaboration aimed at stopping Islamic extremism. The measures adopted include closer ties among the secret services, and a council of elders to resolve the problems of the tribal areas.
Islamabad (AsiaNews/Agenzie) - Terrorism "is destroying Pakistan, just as it is Afghanistan", and for this reason "it must by combated by every means available: the governments of Kabul and Islamabad must cooperate to combat this scourge in the shortest time possible". Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf said this yesterday evening, during a dinner in honour of Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan's president, who had come on official visit.
 
Pakistan, he added, "has 100,000 security personnel along the 2,430-kilometer (1,510-mile) border with Afghanistan to combat al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters, who together destroy peace and harmony in our societies". The reference is to the accusations of the international community, which maintains that Musharraf is "little inclined" to combating terrorism.
 
Karzai's visit comes in the context of smoothing over disagreements and giving a clear signal of cooperation in the fight against Islamic extremism. This, the Afghan president said, is "casting a shadow of doubt on relations between us, a shadow that must be driven away".
 
The two presidents agreed to share the work of the secret services, and to create a group composed of 50 elders from both countries, which will act as a tribal council for the disputes that arise in the border areas.
 
Musharraf emphasized his "full support" for the operation of this council, which "will be seen as a point of reference for every decision regarding these areas". Nonetheless, it has not been clarified when the council members will be selected, a process that will be determined "in the near future".
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