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Karzai Pleased with Pakistan's Action Against Militants - 2003-10-05

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he is pleased with Pakistan's recent operation against militants believed to be staging cross-border attacks on Afghan targets. But the Afghan president still feels Pakistan could do more to rein in such terrorist elements.

Speaking to reporters Sunday, President Karzai praised Pakistan's recent offensive against alleged militants of the al-Qaida terror network.

Pakistan launched the operation Thursday in Waziristan, in the northwest corner of Pakistan near the Afghanistan border, killing eight militants and arresting 18. Two Pakistani soldiers were also killed.

The militants are believed to be members of al-Qaida, who have been involved in attacks inside Afghanistan against local and foreign targets, including U.S. forces operating in the area.

But President Karzai added that Pakistan should still do more to stop al-Qaida and other militants from taking refuge on Pakistani soil. "We are happy with it. It's a job well done. But for us to be truly satisfied, we need all [such] terrorist attacks to stop in Afghanistan. As long as these attacks continue, [Pakistan's] efforts won't meet with our acceptance," he said.

The Afghan leader said he discussed the matter last month with his Pakistani counterpart, President Pervez Musharraf, when the two took part in a United Nations meeting in New York.

He said the United States also has been playing a key role in coordinating the two countries' cooperation on the terrorism issue.

President Karzai stressed that Afghans need to view Pakistan as a brother nation. He says good relations are essential for Afghanistan's stability.

Al-Qaida and other insurgents, including remnants of Afghanistan's former hard-line Taleban regime, are blamed for scores of attacks on Afghan police and soldiers, civilians, and U.S. forces operating in the area.

President Karzai notes that the militants' recent targets also include relief workers, some from aid groups that have worked inside Afghanistan since the Soviet occupation of the 1980s.