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Karzai Laments Rising Violence in Afghanistan During Japan Visit


Afghanistan's president, concluding a visit to Japan for an international conference of donors, has expressed concern about rising violence in his country.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Friday blamed terrorists from outside Afghanistan and a shortage of adequately equipped and funded police for rising violence in the country.

The president, speaking to reporters in Tokyo, called for neighbor Pakistan to help reduce attacks in Afghanistan.

"Afghanistan hopes that Afghanistan and Pakistan and the region will cooperate much more effectively and strongly," he said, "and with much more sincerity, in order for us to be able to stop terrorism and eliminate their sources of training, their sources of financing."

Bombings in the capital Kabul this week have wounded dozens of people and killed at least one person. In addition, there has been a rise in insurgent attacks in the provinces in the past two months.

During his four-day visit to Tokyo, Mr. Karzai received an aid pledge of an additional $60 million from Japan. The money will pay to disarm former combatants, who still threaten the war-ravaged country. The pledge was made at an international conference here on progress in bringing peace to Afghanistan.

Shortly before departing Japan, President Karzai told reporters Friday that he is grateful for the $8 billion pledged by the international community for Afghanistan since the fall of the Taleban regime in 2001. He said, however, more still needs to be done to stabilize the country, which after nearly three decades of conflict is one of the poorest in the world.

"No, it is not enough. And, if they can increase the assistance, we will be very, very grateful," he said. "And, especially, if they can increase the assistance and spend it through the Afghan institutions, it will be good for our capacity building and for the reconstruction of the country."

Mr. Karzai also called on the world community to have patience concerning Afghanistan's opium poppy production. He said, while Kabul is strongly committed to wiping out opium production, Afghanistan's farmers continue to grow poppies out of economic desperation.

The Afghan president says overseas demand for heroin, which is made from opium, encourages poppy growing, because it is more lucrative than other crops. He called for international help to neutralize the overseas crime groups he says are responsible for trafficking the narcotic.

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