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Pakistan - Afghanistan Cooperation

More than six-hundred Afghan and Pakistani delegates, including government officials, clerics, and tribal elders, are in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, for a "Joint Peace Jirga," or council. The purpose is to promote better cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan on security issues, including terrorism and drug trafficking.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai said violent extremism threatens both countries. "If the problem is from the Afghanistan side," he said, "we should seek ways to solve it. If the problem is in Pakistan, we should find solutions for it."

Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told the jirga that "terrorism, militancy, the violent creed preached by al-Qaida, extremism, and Talebanization represent pain, intolerance, and backwardness in our societies and a phenomenon that has maligned our great and noble faith, Islam." He said Pakistan and Afghanistan "must fight these dark forces with determination and resolve."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack commented on the joint peace jirga:

"In terms of diplomacy, the process is moving forward, and that's what is important. Both of them [Afghan President Karzai and Pakistan President Musharraf] have an interest in seeing this process succeed and they both have an interest in seeing greater cooperation between Afghanistan and Pakistan in fighting violent extremism."

President George W. Bush said the U.S. is cooperating with Pakistan to meet the terrorist threat:

"In my discussions with President Musharraf, I have reminded him that we share a common enemy: extremists and radicals who would like to do harm to our respective societies, in his case, they would like to kill him, and they've tried. I have made it clear to him that I would expect there to be full cooperation in sharing intelligence, and I believe we've got good intelligence sharing."

President Bush stressed the importance of cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan:

"The main problem is to fight extremism, to recognize that history has called us into action."

By fighting extremists and radicals, said Mr. Bush, the U.S. and its allies help promote peace.