Pakistani, Afghan leaders vow cooperation to fight extremism

Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf, dramatically intervened in a "peace council" meeting in Afghanistan yesterday, declaring that the two countries would work together to fight the extremism and hatred he said had held them back.

More than 600 Afghan and tribal leaders listened as General Musharraf told them that the neighbouring countries were confronted with a "particularly dark form" of terrorism. Speaking at the talks' closing session, he said he had no doubt that Taliban militants found support inside Pakistan and that they crossed between the two countries.

"Our societies face a great danger in the shape of fringe groups, a small minority that preaches hate, violence and backwardness," General Musharraf said.

"These forces are disrupting peace and harmony in our societies, impeding our progress and development and maligning Islam, our noble faith of peace, tolerance and compassion. We must rescue our societies from this new danger and work together to effectively defeat the forces of extremism and terrorism," Independent reports.

Speaking at the close of a four-day meeting of tribal leaders meant to counter rising militant violence, Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Pakistan and Afghanistan face a great danger from fringe groups that preach hate and radicalism. He also admitted that Taliban fighters seek safe haven in Pakistan before crossing the border to launch attacks.

In eastern Nangarhar province, which borders Pakistan, a roadside bomb blast killed three U.S. troops Sunday, the governor's spokesman said, bringing to six the number of international forces killed over the weekend, Wyoming News informs.

According to Scotsman, Aftab Ahmad Khan Sherpao, Pakistan's interior minister, was asked at a news conference later what he thought the jirga had accomplished, and replied that it had created an environment where "brothers" from two countries could sit together.

"This is going to send very good vibes throughout the country, throughout the region," he said.

"This gives us strength, this gives us impetus, this gives us hope that the steps we have taken will lead us to the final destination: peace in this region."