Gilani to visit Kabul for talks

PM Gilani accepts Afghan president's invitation, both countries vow to work more closely to combat extremism.

Afp November 10, 2010

KABUL: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has accepted Hamid Karzai's invitation to visit Afghanistan on an official visit for talks.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have vowed to work more closely to combat extremism, Hamid Karzai's office said on Wednesday after talks between the Afghan president and Pakistan's prime minister.

Karzai's office said that the pair spoke by telephone on Tuesday evening and discussed areas where the two neighbours could cooperate more, including on economic ties.

"Both sides emphasised more cooperation and coordination between security institutions of the two countries in the war against terrorism," the statement said.

The pledge comes amid continued unrest in Afghanistan, where more than 150,000 foreign troops are battling Taliban insurgents whose leadership is widely believed to be based across the border in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

US President Barack Obama, in a speech in the Indian city of Mumbai last weekend, said that Islamabad was making progress on tackling what he called the "cancer" of extremism but it was not happening quickly enough.

Former US president George W Bush, in his new memoirs, also said that Pakistan's former president Pervez Musharraf "either would not or could not fulfill all of his promises" on targeting al Qaeda militants crossing over the porous border with Afghanistan.

He blamed elements in the Pakistani intelligence services for maintaining close ties with militants and others who wanted an "insurance policy" in case of a US withdrawal and any attempt by India to gain influence in Afghanistan.

For his part, Musharraf blamed India for trying to foment trouble in Pakistan by supporting Pakistani separatists and extending its sphere of influence in Afghanistan under the guise of humanitarian and civilian projects.

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