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Rice Begins Pakistan Visit, Adds Afghanistan to Travels


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has arrived in Pakistan for talks with President Pervez Musharraf and other top officials.

Shortly before landing in Islamabad Tuesday, Rice said she will make an unscheduled visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday. She will stop there on her way to Russia for a meeting of the Group of Eight industrialized nations.

While in Kabul, Rice will meet President Hamid Karzai and senior commanders from the U.S.-led coalition. Mr. Karzai has been struggling to extend his political control and reverse the sharp rise in insurgent activity.

Rice spoke to reporters traveling with her. She said Washington stands behind Pakistan and Afghanistan. But she said the U.S. would like to see better cooperation in the war on terrorism between the two neighbors.

Rice praised General Musharraf for being committed to putting Pakistan on a course toward moderation rather than a course toward extremism.

She had even stronger praise for Mr. Karzai. She said he is an extraordinary leader and Washington is going to back him fully.

Mr. Karzai has criticized Pakistan for not doing enough to go after terrorists along the mountainous border between the two nations.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.
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