President of Afghanistan calls for greater Pakistani support in war on terror

Afghanistan 's president on Tuesday demanded greater cooperation from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism following claim's his country's eastern neighbor was supporting militant attacks here.

"Pakistan and Afghanistan are the central pieces in the war against terrorism and unless there is sincere, intensive and systematic cooperation between both sides the world will not be safe," President Hamid Karzai said in a joint press conference with visiting Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"It is extremely important that our brothers in Pakistan join us in the most intensive manner ... in the fight against terror," Karzai said.

Harper, who arrived in Afghanistan on Sunday and visited some of the 2,200 Canadian troops in the southern city of Kandahar, said he would raise the issue with Pakistani officials when he travels to Islamabad later Tuesday.

Afghan-Pakistani relations soured following a March 12 suicide car bomb attack that wounded Sibghatullah Mujaddedi, the head of the Afghan Parliament's upper house. Four people were killed.

Mujaddedi accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency of being behind the attack, a claim Islamabad dismissed.

Pakistan was long an influential player in Afghan politics and backed the former Taliban regime, which was toppled by the U.S.-led military coalition launched on this country after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

While Pakistan's government became a partner of the American-led war on terror, suspicions remain that Pakistan's intelligence apparatus could still have links to the Taliban and may support attacks to retain a strategic influence over Afghanistan.

Relations between the two Asian neighbors key allies of Washington in its war on terror also deteriorated sharply after Karzai gave Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf last month a list of Taliban and al-Qaida fugitives he said were hiding in Pakistan .

Afghan and Pakistani officials have said the list included Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar and top associates, and that Afghanistan also shared the locations of alleged terrorist training camps.

Karzai, meanwhile, thanked Harper for Canada's support to combat Afghanistan's incessant violence and rebuild its economy.

"Canadian soldiers have lost their lives, a diplomat has lost his life and Canadian soldiers are (still) at risk in Afghanistan, but they are still helping us," Karzai said.

Canada 's commitment to Afghanistan 's reconstruction amounts to about US$650 million (about 540 million euros) until 2009.

The Canadian deployment to the volatile region is part of an expansion of the NATO-led security force in Afghanistan , which will pave the way for the United States to draw down some troops, reports the AP.


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