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British and Pakistani Leaders Discuss Anti-Taliban Campaign


The conflict between Pakistani forces and Taliban fighters in the North-West Frontier Province topped the agenda as British Prime Minister Gordon Brown held talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari at 10 Downing Street.

On his way home from his first official visit to the United States, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari stopped in London for two days of discussions.

His first meeting was with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at his official residence.

At a joint news conference, Mr. Brown praised the current Pakistani army offensive against Taliban targets in the Swat valley.

"President Zardari's troops are risking their lives courageously fighting extremists as we speak, a vital task which of course has had an impact on human beings and their local communities many of whom have been displaced as a result," he said.

Because of this, Mr. Brown said Britain is pledging $18 million worth of additional humanitarian aid in the form of food, water, shelter and sanitation that will directed at those being displaced in the northwest.

In addition to the aid, the prime minister said he expects much more cooperation between Britain and Pakistan over a wide range of issues.

"We need a more comprehensive approach and we need therefore a new concordant spanning economic development, strengthening institutions, improved security through deeper cooperation on both counter-terrorism and other issues," said British prime minister.

Mr. Brown said helping the effort to tackle terrorism in Pakistan and improving health and education there were important priorities for his government.

Mr. Zardari said the fight against extremists in particular is a struggle that will not be solved overnight.

"It is the challenge of the 21st century," he said. "We have to acknowledge, accept and work with it. It is there to stay. It is not a short-term affair. It is a long-term endeavor and we both are united to fight against this endeavor, which is challenging our way of life and wants to challenge the way of life with the world."

Islamabad says 15,000 security troops have moved into the tribal areas.

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