Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, is urging U.S. forces to stop arresting suspected Taliban members and sympathizers in his country, saying that approach discourages militants from laying down their arms.

Mr. Karzai made the comment in an interview published Saturday by The New York Times. He said the real terrorist threat lies in Taliban and al-Qaida hideouts in Pakistan.

Mr. Karzai said the current policy of arresting Taliban militants in Afghanistan has just driven them across the border where they regroup and take up their weapons again.

President Karzai also said he supports the new Pakistani government's plan to negotiate for peace with Taliban and al-Qaida militants - a marked change in policy from the previous administration headed by President Pervez Musharraf. Mr. Karzai said relations between his government and that of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani have started off on a very good note.

Mr. Karzai faces a re-election campaign next year. His government has been criticized for not doing enough to eliminate corruption and bring under control the warlords who control much of the country.

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