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Afghanistan 8th member of SAARC

world Updated: Apr 03, 2007 12:18 IST

Afghanistan was admitted on Tuesday as the eighth member of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) with President Hamid Karzai, in his flamboyant green cape, being warmly greeted by the leaders of other countries.

A declaration was adopted with acclamation by the other seven members - India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives - welcoming the "Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" into the "SAARC fraternity".

Karzai was then greeted individually by the other leaders, with Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz noticeably embracing him.

Just before departing to New Delhi, Karzai made a scathing attack on Pakistan's promotion of terrorism in his country alleging that Islamabad was the source, funding, trainer and sanctuary of the Taliban and its leaders.

"If we had better cooperation from Pakistan, a great many of these cross-border crossings would stop," Karzai told the New York Times. Pakistan angrily denied the charges.