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Karzai asks Pakistan to close terror schools

Karzai repeated his call to Pakistan to shut down madrassas to give his country a chance to rebuild after losing almost two generations to terrorists.

india Updated: Sep 28, 2006 14:34 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

With US President George W Bush standing beside him, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai on Tuesday repeated his call to Pakistan to shut down extremist schools to give his country a chance to rebuild after losing almost two generations to terrorists.

"There will not be an end to terrorism without action against madrassas preaching hatred," Karzai told the media at the White House after a meeting with Bush.

The US is helping both Afghanistan and Pakistan and they needed to work with more dedication to get rid of terrorism, he said when asked to comment on Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf's reported remark that "he should first learn more about his own country".

Bush has invited both Karzai and Musharraf - who have of late, traded charges against each other - for dinner on Wednesday for what he hopes will be an "interesting discussion among three allies" on how they can work together to defeat terrorism.

"It's in the interest of President Karzai and it's in the interest of President Musharraf to bring Osama bin Laden to justice," Bush said, adding, "By working together we can achieve this objective."

It would be interesting to watch the body language of his two guests, quipped Bush but hastened to add that, jokes aside, what the media perceived as tension between the two neighbours did in no way affect their determination to fight terror.

Asked to comment on Pakistan's deal with tribal leaders in North Waziristan, Karzai said they had initially thought it was a deal with the Taliban but Musharraf had explained that it was with the tribal leaders.

A key element of the deal, he was told, was that terrorists will not be allowed to cross into Afghanistan. "So we will have to wait and see. But generally, we back any move to deny terrorists any sanctuary in North Waziristan or Northwest Pakistan," Karzai said.

Musharraf, who had a separate meeting with Bush last week, has said extremist schools account for only about five per cent of the schools in Pakistan but acknowledged that "we are moving slowly" against them.

Bush disagreed with a questioner that it was a mistake to go into Iraq or that the international support for the global war on terrorism had receded. The best way to defeat terrorism was to go on the offence, he said.

Karzai agreed with a call to go after them rather than wait for them to attack again.

First Published: Sep 27, 2006 00:27 IST