Pak, Uzbekistan boost anti-terror cooperation
Pakistan and Uzbekistan have signed nine agreements to reinforce cooperation in several fields including counter-terrorism.
The agreements were signed in Islamabad Tuesday after talks between Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf and visiting Uzbek President Islam Karimov to boost ties in trade, agriculture, counter-terrorism and consular matters.
Musharraf and Karimov told reporters that they had agreed to reinforce cooperation in counter-terrorism to promote regional peace and stability.
One major concern of Uzbekistan has been the presence of leading Uzbek Islamist Tahir Yuldashev in Pakistan's remote and turbulent region, bordering Afghanistan.
Tahir Yuldashev is wanted in Uzbekistan in relation to the involvement of his Uzbekistan Islamic Movement in a series of terrorist acts.
During Afghanistan's Taliban era, Yuldashev had settled down in Afghanistan along with hundreds of fighters but fled to the Pakistani tribal region of Waziristan after the rout of the Taliban regime in a US-led military action in Afghanistan in December 2001.
Yuldashev sustained serious injuries in a military operation in South Waziristan in March 2004 during a shoot-out with the Pakistani military but managed to escape.
Since then there has been no trace of the pro-Al-Qaeda rebel.
Pakistan's South and North Waziristan regions, bordering Afghanistan's Paktika and Khost provinces in the west have been the sites of frequent military operations since late 2003.
These operations have been aimed at tracking down fugitives of the Al-Qaeda terrorist network and remnants of the Taliban, who fled the US-led military action in Afghanistan and took refuge in Pakistani tribal regions.
Visiting Pakistan after a gap of 14 years, Karimov described his talks with Musharraf as "constructive and open," saying that during both one-on-one meetings and delegation-level talks, issues were discussed of regional as well as global interest.
Musharraf said there was "complete" understanding between himself and his Uzbek counterpart on important regional and international issues of mutual concern.