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Pakistani President Postpones Visit to Afghanistan



Pakistan's president, Asif Ali Zardari, has postponed a trip to Afghanistan where he was to hold talks on stepping up counter-terrorism efforts along their common border.

Mr. Zardari was expected to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul later Friday. But Afghan officials said early Friday that the trip had been cancelled because of bad weather. They did not say when the visit will take place.

There were large protests this week in the Pakistani city of Peshawar against Pakistan's support for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Nearly 5,000 protesters from Pakistan's Jamaat-e-Islami political party chanted anti-U.S. slogans as they marched through the city on Thursday. They called on the government to block the Khyber Pass -- a vital Pakistani supply route used by Western forces to deliver military supplies into Afghanistan.

Protesters said ammunition and bombs are passing through Pakistan to Afghanistan only to be used against Pakistani civilians -- a reference to suspected U.S. military strikes targeting militants in Pakistan.

Thursday's protest followed a series of militant attacks on NATO and U.S. military supply depots and convoys in northwestern Pakistan.

Despite hundreds of trucks being destroyed in the assaults, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman, Bryan Whitman, on Thursday said the route remains viable. He said convoys continue to flow along the Khyber Pass at a rate of 150 trucks a day.

The Khyber Pass carries around 70 percent of supplies for Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan.

Resurgent Taliban militants and their allies have been blamed for the rise in attacks on both sides of the border in recent months.




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