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Kabul Hosts Regional Economic Conference

Hamid Karzai (file photo) (epa) 4 December 2005 -- A two-day regional economic conference started in the Afghan capital Kabul today with a pledge for closer cooperation.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai offered Afghanistan as a conduit for regional trade and a market for energy and skilled labor to fuel its reconstruction efforts. He also said that all countries in the region are affected by terrorism.

"All of the countries in this region are some how affected by terrorism," Karzai told the confernce. "Another very effective area of cooperation would be a joint struggle against terrorism to facilitate better growth, more confidence of the businesses and investment in all of our countries -- and in the region."

British Foreign Office Minister Kim Howells said cooperation is crucial for the region. He said foreign investment in Afghanistan has reached nearly $1 billion and is likely to keep rising.

The meeting is co-chaired by Britain. It brought officials from the six countries bordering Afghanistan -- Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, and China -- as well as India, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.


RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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