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President Bush invites Karzai to US

The US President had called his Afghanistan counterpart to assure him of the continued and long-term support for the country.

india Updated: Aug 23, 2006 18:25 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will travel to Washington "in the near future" following an invitation from the US president, Karzai's office said on Wednesday.

President George W Bush called Karzai on Tuesday to assure him "of the continued and long-term US support for Afghanistan" as the country is battered by increased Taliban-led violence, his office said in a statement.

"Both presidents talked about the situation in Afghanistan and the region," the statement said.

"They discussed the progress Afghanistan, with the help from the United States, is making in fighting terrorism and rebuilding Afghanistan."

Bush invited Karzai to visit Washington DC "in the near future," but the statement didn't specify when.

Karzai also thanked Bush for America's "continued support to Afghanistan," according to the statement.

The Afghan president is scheduled to travel to New York next month for the UN's General Assembly's annual ministerial session, said his spokesman, Khaleeq Ahmad.

He could not say if Karzai would meet with Bush during that trip.

Karzai last visited Bush in Washington in May 2005, when the two leaders signed a strategic partnership agreement that ensures long-term US support for Afghanistan in economic, security and other sectors.

Bush also made a surprise visit to Kabul in March. Afghanistan is going through it worst bout of bloodshed and violent insurgency, particularly in the south, since the Taliban regime's 2001 ouster in a US-led invasion for hosting Osama bin Laden.

Resurgent Taliban holdouts are trying to undermine the authority of the US-backed Karzai government.

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