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Afghanistan President Karzai (left) with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (epa) July 5, 2006 -- An international conference focusing on ways to disband illegal armed groups in Afghanistan has opened in Tokyo.


Addressing the one-day Conference on Consolidation of Peace in Afghanistan, Afghan President Hamid Karzai hailed the completion of the first phase of the disarmament program, but said that "progress in all other sectors in Afghanistan will not be possible without an improvement in the security situation and without reform in a number of areas of the security sector."


Japan's foreign minister, Taro Aso, said Afghanistan has made "great strides towards peace, stability and democracy."


During Karzai's visit, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi pledged to provide Afghanistan with continued support.


Japan has already provided about $1 billion in assistance for security and development in Afghanistan.


(AFP)

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