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Zardari to visit Afghanistan: official

world Updated: Dec 18, 2008 12:47 IST

AFP
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Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will visit Afghanistan for the first time on Friday for talks with his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on ways to jointly combat terrorism, the foreign ministry said.

The visit comes as Islamabad and Kabul -- both allies in the US-led "war on terror" -- are battling Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants along their mountainous common border.

"President Zardari and President Karzai will discuss ways to jointly combat terrorism, which poses a common threat to the peace and security of both states," the Pakistani foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

"Pakistan attaches a high priority to forging close, friendly and cooperative relations with Afghanistan," it said.

"The president's visit would further consolidate friendly ties existing between the two countries."

The two leaders are scheduled to hold a joint press conference, the ministry said.

Karzai visited Pakistan in September to attend Zardari's swearing-in ceremony. The two also met in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, and in Istanbul earlier this month.

The Afghan leader has accused Pakistan in the past of not doing enough to prevent cross-border operations by Taliban insurgents against Afghan and foreign troops.

In recent weeks, Taliban militants have attacked NATO supply depots in northwest Pakistan near the border, torching trucks and containers destined for foreign forces in Afghanistan.