Afghan President Hamid Karzai is giving the new U.S. strategy for
Afghanistan and Pakistan a resounding endorsement -- calling it
"exactly what the Afghan people were hoping for."
Mr. Karzai praised the U.S. plan during a news conference Saturday, adding that it is better that what he had been expecting.
The Afghan leader's comments come one day after U.S. President Barack
Obama pledged more troops and a greater emphasis on regional diplomacy
to defeat al-Qaida militants and their allies, calling the situation in
both Afghanistan and Pakistan "increasingly perilous."
As part of the plan, 4,000 additional U.S troops will be sent to
Afghanistan to train Afghan armed forces, on top of the 17,000 new
troops to be deployed in the next months.
Pakistani officials Friday also welcomed the new strategy to stabilize the region.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani said Pakistani territory will
not be allowed to be used for terrorist activities, which he said are
carried out by a "minority of extremists." President Asif Ali Zardari
welcomed Mr. Obama's initiatives to strengthen democracy in his country.
The U.S. president is calling on Congress to authorize $1.5 billion in
direct support to the Pakistani people every year over the next five
years, to improve infrastructure and strengthen Pakistan's democracy.
In the latest violence in Afghanistan, U.S. officials say American and
Afghan forces killed 12 militants during a raid on a compound in
southern Helmand province Friday night.
And Afghan officials say police killed two militants during a clash in Zabul province.