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Iranian President to Make First Trip to Afghanistan

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is set to visit neighboring Afghanistan this week for the first time since taking office two years ago.

Mr. Ahmadinejad will hold talks with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in the capital, Kabul, on Tuesday. Officials say the purpose of the trip is to strengthen bilateral ties.

Kabul has maintained good relations with Iran since the Taleban was ousted from Afghanistan in 2001, despite tensions between the United States, a key Afghan ally, and Tehran over Iran's nuclear program.

U.S. officials have also accused Iran of providing weapons to the Taleban insurgency in Afghanistan.

But President Karzai has called Iran a "helper" against extremists.

The Iranian leader is also scheduled to visit Turkmenistan later in the week. He then travels to Kyrgyzstan, where he is to attend a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

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