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Bush, Karzai Discuss Fight Against Terrorism


U.S. President George W. Bush and his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, have stressed their commitment to fighting terrorism after talks at the Camp David presidential retreat outside Washington.

Mr. Bush said the U.S. is working with NATO and Afghan forces to fight Taleban militants. Mr. Karzai said the Taleban poses a danger to innocent Afghans, but not to the Afghan government itself.

Mr. Bush said he is confident that with the right intelligence, the United States and Pakistan can bring top al-Qaida leaders to justice. But Mr. Bush declined to say if the U.S. would take military action in Pakistan without first consulting Islamabad.

Mr. Bush also said U.S forces do everything they can to protect the innocent during fighting in Afghanistan. Several hundred civilians have been killed during U.S. and NATO-led operations against insurgents in Afghanistan.

Mr. Bush and Mr. Karzai offered differing opinions about the role of Iran in Afghanistan. The U.S. president said he would be very cautious about whether or not the Iranian influence in Afghanistan is a positive force.

Before the talks, Mr. Karzai said Iran has been more of "a helper than a hindrance" in Afghanistan.

The two leaders also discussed the fight against corruption and poppy cultivation during their two days of talks. And Mr. Karzai thanked Mr. Bush for helping Afghanistan significantly reduce its infant mortality rate.

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