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Afghan FM: Afghanistan Concerned about Hardline Islamic Parties in Pakistan - 2002-10-23


A top Afghan official says the large gain by hardline Islamic parties in Pakistan's recent parliamentary elections is a "major concern."

Speaking Tuesday in Washington, Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah said Islamist popularity could lead to a resurgence of support for Afghanistan's militant Taleban - and destabilize Pakistan's government.

Mr. Abdullah also expressed concern that the gains made by Islamic parties came in northwestern Pakistan, close to Afghanistan.

The foreign minister says he hopes Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will be able to deal with Islamic parties in the government.

In this month's parliamentary elections, Pakistan's six-party Islamic alliance won 45 seats in the National Assembly, where such groups never held more than four seats in the past.

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