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Afghan President Declares Terrorism Biggest Threat to Nation


Afghan President Hamid Karzai says terrorism remains the biggest threat facing the country.

Addressing parliament at the beginning of a new session Monday, Mr. Karzai said cooperation and international support is key in the fight against terrorism.

He said the government's door is open to those who accept the constitution of Afghanistan and want to join efforts to reconstruct the war-battered country.

Government reconciliation commissions have been helping former Taliban fighters and other rebels rejoin society and renounce extremism as militant attacks rise.

President Karzai also told lawmakers that there has been a sharp rise in the number of children in the south who do not go to school because of militant violence. He said an estimated 300,000 children were unable to go to classes - up 50 percent from last year.

Meanwhile, a string of suspected Taliban attacks in recent days killed at least 12 people, including five Afghan civilians and one NATO soldier.

A British NATO soldier was killed in southern Afghanistan Sunday when the vehicle he was in hit a mine. Five other international troops were wounded.

Authorities say five civilians were killed near Kandahar late Saturday when a hidden bomb, apparently intended for NATO forces or Afghan government troops, detonated as a taxi passed by.

In Zabul province, the head of a government peace and reconciliation commission was kidnapped by gunmen early Sunday and later found dead.

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

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