Pakistan, Afghanistan to reinforce anti-terror cooperation

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Islamabad, Dec 26 (UNI) Pakistan and Afghanistan today pledged to further reinforce cooperation in the ongoing war against terror, as Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Islamabad on a two-day visit.

''We have to work together to fight the menaces of terrorism and extremism,'' President Pervez Musharraf and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai told a press conference after their talks, which mainly focused on anti-terror cooperation and ways to further bolster economic and trade ties between the two countries.

Mr Karzai admitted that activities of Taliban, crossing into his country from Pakistan had decreased by 40 per cent, while there has been a rise in the acts of terror in his neighbourhood.

The Afghan president, who also mentioned a rise in suicide bombings and situation in the northwestern Swat valley in the wake of ongoing military operation against Islamic militants there, said, ''we discussed ways to tackle the issue of terrorism, extremism and militancy in a coordinated manner.'' Pakistan army recently said it flushed out militants from the Swat valley, where followers of Maulana Fazalullah, also known as Mulla Radio for running his own FM radion station and inciting people against the military, were on the run.

''Afghanistan and Pakistan are twins and even more than that...

they are part of a same body,'' Mr Karzai said, adding that ''there is no escape from this reality.'' The two countries saw a downslide in their ties after Kabul began accusing Pakistan of allowing Taliban to re-group on its soil and carry out acts of terror in Afghanistan.

However, Pakistan, which has deployed more than 80,000 troops on its borders with Afghanistan denied the allegation and said it was collective responsibility of the entire US-led international coalition to check terrorism and it should not be singled out.

President Musharraf described his talks with Karzai as 'extremely' useful and called for greater coordination in area of intelligence sharing to tackle militancy, extremism and terrorism.

He said this was a positive development that activities of Taliban had decreased on Afghan soil by 40 per cent. But unfortunately, there has been a rise in terrorism in Pakistan, especially in settled areas of the Northwestern Frontier Province, he added.

Fifty six people were killed and over 100 injured in a suicide attack during Eif-ul-Azha prayer on Friday in the northwestern town of Charsadda.

Musharraf said his security forces had effectively dealt with the problem especially in Swat and broken back of terrorists.


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