Karzai, Musharraf affirm ties

After meeting, call for cooperation against terrorism

December 27, 2007|By New York Times News Service.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai and President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan signaled an improvement in relations between their two countries after an unusually cordial meeting here yesterday and called for greater cooperation in fighting terrorism.

Karzai was on a two-day visit to the Pakistani capital, where he would also meet with the opposition politician Benazir Bhutto, a statement from the Afghan president's office said. Bhutto is contesting parliamentary elections scheduled for January.

The two presidents have regularly leveled harsh accusations at each other over the past two years. Karzai has blamed Pakistan for harboring the Taliban and militant training camps, which he says have allowed the insurgents to stage a comeback, while Musharraf has blamed the creeping insurgency on lawlessness in Afghanistan and Karzai's failure to govern.

But the two men emerged yesterday from their discussions closer to agreement on how to deal with the militants.

Musharraf said their talks focused on terrorism and the need for cooperation on intelligence to meet "this menace of extremism and terrorism, which is destroying both our countries."

"I think we have developed very strong understanding of each other's problems," Musharraf said during a news briefing.

"The meeting was productive in all aspects," Karzai said. He said that cross-border incursions by pro-Taliban militants from Pakistan had decreased by 40 percent in recent months, but suggested more still needed to be done.

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