Afghan interim leader to visit Islamabad

Afghanistan's interim leader Hamid Karzai will arrive in Islamabad on July 26 at an invitation from Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

It is planned that an agreement on the participation of millions of Afghan refugees staying in Pakistan in the October 9 presidential elections in Afghanistan, will be signed during the visit the Dawn newspaper quoted Afghan Foreign Minister Dr. Abdullah as saying. [When the civil war broke out in Afghanistan in 1979, about 50% of Afghans fled the country. 6 million of them found refuge in the Pushtu independent area in Pakistan]. The simultaneous presidential and parliamentary elections, which were formerly scheduled for September 2004 were again postponed and separated. The elections to the Afghan parliament will be held in spring 2005.

Dr. Abdullah held talks with his Pakistani counterpart Mian Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri in Islamabad. They pointed out dynamic development of Afghan-Pakistani cooperation at the yesterday's joint press conference.

The sides agreed to expand trade and economic relations. According to Mr. Kasuri, the mutual trade turnover worth $700 million is to be increased up to $1 billion in a year.

The ministers also emphasized the necessity of further struggle against terrorism and religious extremism (the Pushtu tribes feel sympathy for the remaining Talibs and Al Qaeda terrorists).

The sides decided to hold meetings and consultations between the foreign ministers and their deputies twice a year.

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Author`s name: Editorial Team