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Zardari, Karzai vow to fight against terror

ISLAMABAD—Leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday vowed to expand scope of their talks aimed at greater cooperation in the fight against terrorism and collaboration at bilateral political and economic levels.Addressing a joint press conference here at the Aiwan-e-Sadr, President Asif Zardari and his Afghan counterpart said both the countries suffered from a common enemy of terrorism that need to be tackled with closer collaboration between their security and intelligence agencies.President Zardari said, “we have a common cause and suffer from this cancer of terrorism. They are friends of nobody and are our joint enemies.”He said the two countries need to “raise the bar” and have more indepth cooperation to fight terror networks. President Karzai said the objective of his visit was to have an open dialogue that was substantive, realistic and issue oriented and part of the ongoing campaign against terrorism. Responding to a question about recent remarks made by his National Security Adviser in which he alleged that Pakistani intelligence agencies were helping the terrorists, Karzai said the matter was discussed during the talks. “This is ongoing dialogue and the fact and the ground reality is that both the countries are suffering from terrorism. They [terrorists] have to be based somewhere. They did not come from Ivory Coast or Bakina Faso. They came from our soil.” He said the issue was how to tackle the sanctuaries, training, finances and resources used for the acts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. “Openness in dialogue is a step forward, that is substantive, realistic in the ongoing campaign against terrorism.” He mentioned the recent spate of attacks in Pakistan and said Afghanistan too faced such gruesome and inhuman acts. He said it was a problem for both the countries and they must find a solution for stability of both countries and the region. To a question about involvement of India in acts of terrorism in Pakistan, Karzai said his country would act if provided evidence of use of its territory in the acts of terrorism in Pakistan. “I speak with a clear voice and conscience. Afghanistan would be committing a great wrong to itself, if we allowed our territory to be used by any country against Pakistan.” He said it was not in the interest of Afghanistan. “If you have any evidence give it to us,” he said and assured that his country would definitely act if it finds any proof. Regarding talks with the Taliban and his offer of peace to Mulla Umar, President Karzai said apart from campaign against extremism and terrorism, his country was also engaging other means to bring peace and stability to his war torn country. “We will engage with those who are not part of al-Qaeda and terrorist network and abide by the Afghan Constitution and the gains made in the 10 years … and have no enmity with us.” He said his government was trying to seek all means to defeat the Taliban who were not “reconcilable” while engaging in a substantive dialogue to bring security and stability to both Pakistan and Afghanistan. President Zardari said his country stands against terrorism and was part of the solution and its democratic government was not part of the problem.—Agencies

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