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Afghan President Urges Cooperation Against Extremism at Peace Conference

  • VOA News

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling for greater cooperation between his country and Pakistan in the fight against extremism.

Mr. Karzai told hundreds of Afghan and Pakistani leaders at the opening of a peace conference in Kabul on Thursday that terrorism could be eliminated within days if both countries work together.

During his address, Mr. Karzai said Afghanistan is still suffering, despite some progress against militants. The president said violence kills Afghans daily and threatens children as they walk to school.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was also scheduled to address the tribal council (jirga) but abruptly canceled on Wednesday, citing domestic issues. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz is attending in his place.

The conference aims to improve border security by curbing pro-Taleban militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. Relations have soured as each government blames the other for a recent surge in militant attacks.

During Thursday's opening session, President Karzai also discussed the South Korean hostage crisis in Afghanistan, saying the abductions of women have no place in Afghan tradition or history. Most of the 21 South Koreans in captivity are women.

Delegates say the jirga is going better than expected, despite some setbacks.

Earlier this week, tribal elders from North Waziristan said they would boycott the jirga which has also been criticized by Taleban militants.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to the tribal council at the urging of President Bush during talks last year.
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