United States and Germany Dissatisfied with Corruption in Afghan Administration

NATO said Monday, during six days of fighting in northern Afghanistan, Afghan and international troops killed more than 130 insurgents. It was some of the heaviest fighting in the north this year.

The operation, which took place last week, was in the Chahar Dara district of Kunduz province against Taliban fighters who had been threatening NATO supply lines from Russia.

An estimated 700 Afghan troops and 50 international soldiers, mostly Americans, took part in the operation. A NATO statement said 130 Taliban fighters, including eight commanders, were killed. The statement did not say how NATO arrived at the death figure.

"It is the largest operation I've ever seen in Kunduz," Mohammad Omar, governor of Kunduz province, was quoted as saying in a NATO press release. "You've got the Taliban running all over the place."

After the fighting ended, Afghan and international troops distributed humanitarian supplies in villages affected by the operation. Six trucks delivered clothing and food, including cooking oil, rice and beans in hopes of winning public support, The Associated Press reports.

Meanwhile, the United States and Germany say the new Afghan government being formed by President Hamid Karzai needs to embrace reforms and curb corruption if it is to enjoy broader international support. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton discussed Afghanistan with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle on the sidelines of observances marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall.

The Obama administration and the new German government that took office late last month are reviewing their military commitments in Afghanistan and both are serving notice on President Karzai that they expect major reforms now that his new term in office has been assured.

The issue dominated Secretary Clinton's talks with Chancellor Merkel and her new Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle.

Secretary Clinton and her German counterpart made clear at a joint press event that they expect Mr. Karzai to try to broaden his government and tackle the country's well-documented corruption problems, Voice of America reports.

It was also reported, Hamid Karzai has appealed for closer trade ties with fellow Muslim countries to help Afghanistan break its cycle of conflict.

Karzai met representatives of eight governments, including Abdullah Gul, the Turkish president and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, on the sidelines of an economic summit held by the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in Istanbul.

Most trade with landlocked Afghanistan passes through the conflict-ridden border with Pakistan and through Iran.

Karzai said: "Afghanistan's interest is primarily in having close brotherly relations with its neighbours, freedom of trade and transit, and an effective environment of co-operation," Aljazeera.net reports.

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