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President Hamid Karzai Meets U.S. Vice President and NATO Chief

On February 26, President Hamid Karzai met with U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney at the Gul Khana Palace in Kabul. President Hamid Karzai and Vice President Cheney discussed the fight against terrorism, security in Afghanistan and regional cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism.

Vice President Cheney expressed satisfaction at the achievements Afghanistan has made during the past five years and said, "The United States of America will continue its assistance to Afghanistan in the fight against terrorism, strengthening security and reconstruction of the country."

In a one hour long, one-on-one meeting, both leaders discussed security issues and Vice President Cheney assured the President of the United State's long-term commitment to Afghanistan. "The United States of America will provide further assistance for the strengthening of the Afghan national institutions and the Afghan national army and police. We will be with the people of Afghanistan until they need our assistance."

The President thanked Vice President Cheney for the US assistance to Afghanistan and said, "With the assistance of the United States of America, Afghanistan has made significant progress in the past five years. The people of Afghanistan will have a bright future." The President also stressed the need for more electricity and education projects and informed the Vice President that the Afghan people were encouraged by the Administration’s pledge of $11.8 billion to bolster security and expand reconstruction in Afghanistan. Both leaders shared the same view on the need for sincere regional cooperation to fight extremism and terrorism.

Vice President Cheney’s trip to Kabul comes on the heels of a trip to Pakistan, where he discussed fighting terrorism in Pakistan with President Pervez Musharraf.

On February 21, President Karzai met with NATO Secretary-General Jaap De Hoop Scheffer. They discussed the progress of Afghanistan’s rebuilding efforts, and the expanding role of NATO in defending Afghanistan from terrorist attacks. General De Hoop Scheffer said NATO should focus on reconstruction, paying more attention to training and equipping the Afghan army.

"If we like it or not, Afghanistan ... is a frontline in the fight against those people who want to destroy the fabric of our societies," he told a joint news conference with President Karzai.

"If we don't succeed in Afghanistan, I am quite sure that the spoilers will come to us to the Netherlands, to Belgium, to the United Kingdom, (as) they came to the United States," he said.

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