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Jury still out on Pak deal with tribal chiefs: Karzai
Aziz Haniffa in Washington, DC | September 27, 2006 01:57 IST
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has said that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf while visiting Kabul recently had explained to him that the deal with the tribal leaders in North Wazirstan was not one that involved the Taliban, but indicated that the jury was still out as to how it would all pan out.
Appearing at a joint news conference with President George W Bush after a two-hour meeting, Karzai said, "President Musharraf when he was in Kabul explained what they had done there -- (because) my initial impression was that this was a deal signed with the Taliban -- and then later I learnt that it was actually signed with the tribal chiefs."
"It will have a different meaning if it is that signed with the tribal chiefs," he said. "But for us, the United States, for the allies against terrorism, the most important element here is item number one in this agreement that the terrorists will not be allowed to cross over into Afghanistan to attack the coalition against terror -- that is the international community in Afghanistan together," Karzai acknowledged.
"We will have to wait and see if that is going to be implemented exactly the way it is signed. So from our side it is a wait and see attitude, but generally we will back any move -- any deal -- that will deny terrorism a sanctuary in North Wazirstan or in the tribal territories of Paistan," Karzai said.
Earlier, asked what his new strategy to fight terrorism was in the wake of the resurgence of the Taliban, Karzai said, "There is no new strategy on the fight against terrorism. We are continuing with the strategy that we have. We are implementing the strategy -- we are moving further in that strategy -- and we are getting more of them, we are trying to clean the country of these elements and the region of these elements and doing more reconstruction by more searches for the terrorist elements hiding around there."
"So the fight against terrorism will continue the way we started it," he added.
Karzai denied that this strategy was a failure, asserting, "It is absolutely working. We come across difficulties as we are moving forward and that's bound to happen, and we get over these difficulties. We resolve them and we go to the next stage of this fight against terrorism."
He acknowledged that the desire would certainly be to eliminate these terrorists altogether and do it as expeditiously as possible, but said, "The desire is not always what you get. So it will take time and we must have the patience to have the time spent on getting rid of them for good."
In his opening remarks, he was profuse in his thanks to President Bush and the American people for assisting Afghanistan and used the word 'grateful' as least half-a-dozen times, repeating and reiterating that "we the Afghan people are grateful to you and the American people for all that you have done."