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Karzai Arrives in Pakistan - 2002-02-07

Afghan leader Hamid Karzai has arrived Friday in Pakistan for his first official visit since Afghanistan's interim government took power in December. There are several issues Mr. Karzai will address in Islamabad.

Pakistani officials say Afghan leader Hamid Karzai will meet with President Pervez Musharraf and other senior officials to discuss bilateral cooperation.

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Aziz Ahmed Khan said Pakistan and Afghanistan have a tradition of close and warm relations. "It is a matter of great honor for us that the chairman of [the] Afghan interim authority is visiting Pakistan," he said. "This would be his first official visit, and we are looking forward that during the talks, matters of mutual interest, how to expand cooperation and other such matters would be discussed."

Pakistan was a strong supporter of Afghanistan's former Taleban regime. But after the September 11 attacks in the United States, Islamabad became a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism that ousted the Taleban from power.

Spokesman Khan says the return of Pakistanis captured after the collapse of the Taleban will also be discussed Mr.Karzai.

Thousands of Pakistani militants crossed into Afghanistan to fight with the Taleban after it came under attack by Afghan opposition forces backed by U.S. air strikes in October.

Mr. Khan says that the interim government in Kabul has also accelerated efforts to re-open the Afghan embassy in Islamabad.