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Holbrooke Says Tajikistan Important For Outcome In Afghanistan

Tajik President Emomali Rahmon welcomes Richard Holbrooke to Dushanbe.
Tajik President Emomali Rahmon welcomes Richard Holbrooke to Dushanbe.
(RFE/RL) -- U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke said in Dushanbe today that Tajikistan was "a country of immense importance if one wants to have a peaceful outcome in Afghanistan," RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Speaking with reporters after meeting with President Emomali Rahmon, the U.S. envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan said Tajikistan was important for "ethnic and geographic and strategic reasons."

Holbrooke also said the greatest danger to regional stability came not from the Taliban but from Al-Qaeda's use of regional sanctuaries to train terrorists.

"I think the real threat in this region is less from the Taliban than from Al-Qaeda, which wants to train international terrorists, but that is an issue of common concern to the United States and to all the countries of this region, and by all the countries I definitely include Pakistan and China and India," Holbrooke said.

Holbrooke added that he and Rahmon "talked especially about energy and water and about Tajikistan's capabilities to help deal with the water crisis in other parts of the region, especially Pakistan and India."

The U.S. envoy's stop in Tajikistan, which shares a 1,340-kilometer border with Afghanistan, is part of a tour of Central Asia that began earlier on February 17.

On February 19, Holbrooke met with Uzbek President Islam Karimov for talks on Afghanistan, and he also met with Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev.

with agency reports