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Karzai Urges Haqqani Talks, Says Afghans Would Back Pakistan In U.S. War

Afghan President Hamid Karzai
Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has called for peace talks with extremists in Pakistan.

In an interview with Pakistan's Geo television, Karzai also indicated that if the United States and Pakistan ever went to war, Afghanistan would support Pakistan.

"God forbid, if ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan," he said.

Karzai's remarks follow a visit to Afghanistan and Pakistan last week by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, during which she called for strengthened cooperation against militants, as well as moves toward a negotiated settlement of the regional conflict.

Reports say that despite frequent tensions between Washington and Islamabad, the prospect of a war between the United States and Pakistan seems unlikely at the current time.

Regarding peace talks with the Haqqani network -- blamed for launching a series of attacks in Afghanistan from sanctuaries in Pakistan -- Karzai said in the television interview that such negotiations should take place in Pakistan.

Karzai also reiterated conditions for a strategic agreement with the United States due to be worked out next month, insisting that U.S. forces must stop raiding Afghan homes.

He also said foreign-operated prisons must be closed, and that arrests of Afghans by foreign forces and operations of private security companies must end.

compiled from agency reports