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Karzai Urges Musharraf To Cooperate On Fighting Militants

Hamid Karzai, speaking in Kabul today (epa) March 8, 2006 -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai today called on his Pakistani counterpart General Pervez Musharraf to be more cooperative in fighting terrorism.

"I wish our brother in neighboring Pakistan, his Excellency the President of Pakistan [Pervez Musharraf], would have more serious, more active, cooperation [with Afghanistan] in the fight against terrorism," Karzai said. "Cooperation will be for the good of both countries and the rest of the world."

It is the latest remark between the two leaders this week. Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have been strained since Karzai in February gave Musharraf a purported list of Taliban and Al-Qaeda fugitives allegedly hiding on the Pakistani side of the border. Musharraf dismissed the intelligence as outdated, but Karzai says the information was accurate.

Karzai's remarks come as Pakistani forces clash with suspected militants near the Afghan border.

Meanwhile, U.S. general and Central Command chief John Abizaid, met with Musharraf in Pakistan to discuss tensions between Islamabad and Kabul and coordination in fighting Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Musharraf reportedly told Abizaid that Pakistan is doing all it can to flush out militants near the border and elsewhere.

(compiled from RFE/RL and agency reports)

Helmand Province Governor Comments

Helmand Province Governor Comments

U.S. Marines operating in Helmand Province in 2002 (epa)

RULING A RESTIVE LAND: On February 12, RFE/RL Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent Jawaid Wafa spoke briefly with Helmand Province Governor MOHAMMAD DAOUD about the ongoing violence in his restive region on the border with Pakistan.

RFE/RL: Recently, there have been many clashes and attacks by insurgents in Helmand Province. What in your view facilitates these attacks, especially in Helmand?

Mohammad Daoud: This province has a 160-kilometer border with Pakistan's Baluchistan Province. In reality, armed people, armed terrorists, from the other side of the border cross the border into Helmand. They carry out attacks and return back. It is a serious problem in Helmand that within our borders there is neither tribal good will, nor are there are special military or security measures to prevent enemies from crossing back and forth.

RFE/RL: The attacks and clashes have not only been between government forces and insurgents. There have been various clashes in different parts of Helmand between police and purported drug smugglers. How do you explain this?

Daoud: Drug smugglers also use the border for their own purposes. They have opened markets on the border and process opium there. This is a serious problem along our border. We are in touch with our authorities on this problem.

RFE/RL: There are government border police patrol your border. What is their role in preventing illegal crossings?

Daoud: Along this 160-kilometer border, there are car routes, walking routes. We have border police, but unfortunately, either because of their own problems or because of weak administration, they have not been able to stop the crossing.


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