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Pakistan To Boost Security Cooperation: Afghan

Reuters

09.29.2006

Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed to tighten security cooperation and to hold meetings of tribal leaders to encourage them to go after militants, Afghanistan’s ambassador to Washington said on Sept. 28.

Ambassador Said Jawad, providing details of the Sept. 27 dinner of the U.S., Afghan and Pakistani presidents at the White House, said Pakistan had agreed to take action against militants based on Afghan intelligence.

President George W. Bush hosted the dinner for Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to try to ease tensions between the two, who have accused one another of not doing enough to combat terrorism.

"Pakistan agreed that if it is provided with specific demands, names or lists of targets that it will comply," Jawad said in a brief interview.

Akram Shaheedi, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said Pakistan has long cooperated with Afghanistan on security matters and will continue to do so, although he said he did not know of any specific agreement at the dinner.

"This collaboration is already going on between Afghanistan, America and Pakistan. Whenever any credible information is given to Pakistan, Pakistani security forces do take action immediately," Shaheedi said.

Musharraf and Karzai have accused each other of not doing enough to combat extremists amid a Taliban resurgence that has spawned the worst violence in Afghanistan since U.S.-led forces toppled the Islamist hard-liners five years ago.

Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding in the remote Afghan-Pakistan border area, but Musharraf and Karzai have each said he was in the other’s country.

Jawad described the dinner as "cordial and constructive" and said the two sides had agreed to hold separate "jirgas," or councils of tribal leaders, on each side of the border "to empower tribal structures to fight extremists and terrorists."

Shaheedi confirmed Pakistan has agreed to this step. Both men said there was no timetable for when the councils might be held.

Karzai was initially elected president of an interim Afghan government by a Loya Jirga, or grand assembly, in June 2002.

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