Musharraf on Kabul visit to discuss terrorism | india | Hindustan Times
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Musharraf on Kabul visit to discuss terrorism

india Updated: Sep 06, 2006 14:13 IST
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Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf begins a two-day visit to Afghanistan later on Wednesday that Kabul hopes would open "a new chapter" in bilateral relations and helps resolve the trouble along the volatile border.

"It is a significant visit because during many years of wars and conflict, Afghanistan was often treated by our neighbours as a soft entity, not as an independent sovereign nation," said Ali Muradian, senior adviser in the Afghan foreign ministry.

Afghanistan has been crying foul on the issue of Taliban and foreign mercenaries using safe havens in Pakistan.

"We hope that President Musharraf will open a new chapter in relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan," Muradian was quoted as saying in Pakistani media.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai visited Islamabad thrice in the last two years.

From Pakistan's viewpoint, the visit is an effort to mend fences with the western neighbour while tackling trouble at home in Balochistan, experts said.

After initially accusing Kabul of fomenting trouble in Balochistan, which climaxed in the killing of rebel leader Nawab Akbar Bugti on August 26, Islamabad later clarified there was no Afghan involvement, but its territory, like that of another neighbour Iran, was being "used".

This charge was later elaborated to accuse India of using its consulates in Kandahar in Afghanistan and Zahidan in Iran to aid the Baloch rebels.

Musharraf embarks on the visit a day after a deal was formally signed between the government and tribal groups operating in Northern Waziristan that stipulates the local tribals, known to be sympathetic to the Taliban and hosting foreign mercenaries, would not allow them to cross the border.

Management of borders in both Balochistan and Waziristan is crucial to Pakistan-Afghan relations.

The visit comes ahead of the UN General Assembly. Both Karzai and Musharraf are expected to be in New York and also meet US President George W Bush, a report from Kabul said.

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