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Karzai Pledges To Work Closely With Pakistan - 2001-12-17


Afghanistan's interim prime minister Hamid Karzai has reportedly pledged to work closely with Pakistan, a long-time ally of the now defeated Afghan Taleban faction.

Pakistan's official news agency says Mr. Karzai made the pledge Sunday in a phone conversation with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

The agency says Mr. Karzai thanked General Musharraf for his support of the new Afghan interim government, and said he would visit Pakistan soon. Mr. Karzai's government is set to take power in Kabul Saturday for a six-month period.

The interim prime minister also said Pakistan is like a second home to Afghans. Mr. Karzai was once based in Pakistan.

President Musharraf promised to support the Karzai government in the interest of restoring peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Pakistan was one of three nations to recognize Aghanistan's ousted Taleban government, and the last to cut its ties. U-S and anti-Taleban Afghan forces have toppled the Taleban from power in a nine-week military campaign.

After six months, Mr. Karzai's interim government will call a grand council ("loya jirga") of Afghan tribal officials to choose a more permanent government for Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai was chosen for his post earlier this month at a conference of Afghan leaders in Bonn, Germany.

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