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Afghan President Tells Pakistan Envoy: We Are 'Losing Patience'


Afghan President Hamid Karzai says his country is "losing patience" with the continuing attacks from insurgents allegedly based in neighboring Pakistan. Mr. Karzai released his comments after a critical meeting with Pakistan's foreign minister in Kabul to discuss border security and the resurgence of Taleban-led violence. VOA's Benjamin Sand reports from Islamabad.

President Hamid Karzai issued a written statement Friday morning, a day after he met with Pakistan's foreign minister, Khursheed Kasuri. President Karzai said the Afghan people are suffering from terrorist violence nearly every day, and their patience is "running thin."

Kasuri is in Kabul for a two-day visit, aimed at improving border security and helping defeat the Taleban insurgency. He met with his Afghan counterpart Friday afternoon. During a news conference afterward, Kasuri rejected any suggestion that Islamabad supports pro-Taleban insurgents.

"National security of Pakistan demands that there be peace and stability in Afghanistan," he said. "By blaming each other we will not make headway. Therefore, it is necessary to build trust between our two countries."

Pro-Taleban militants are thought to operate on both sides of the two countries extensive border, and attacks in Afghanistan have surged in the past 12 months. This has been the bloodiest year in Afghanistan since 2001 when U.S.-led forces ousted the hard-line Islamist Taleban government.

More than 4,000 people have been killed in 2006, nearly a quarter of them civilians.

President Karzai has repeatedly accused Islamabad of backing the Taleban and allowing the extremists to operate from inside Pakistan.

Pakistan supported the Taleban during their rise to power before 2001, but officials here insist Islamabad has completely severed ties with the militant group.

Kasuri says his government is doing everything it can to secure the border and help defeat the insurgents.

Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, recently blamed the Taleban's resurgence in Afghanistan on Mr. Karzai's government. Despite their differences, both countries agree the spread of Islamic extremism is cause for concern on both sides of the border.

Kasuri told reporters that Pakistani and Afghan officials are reviewing plans for a series of possible tribal councils, or jirgas, in the region to help combat the Taleban's growing influence.

He said the plans were originally discussed during recent meetings Mr. Musharraf and Mr. Karzai had with U.S. President George Bush.

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