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Karzai: Terrorists get trained, equipped outside Afghanistan
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08:26, December 20, 2007

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Stressing that Afghanistan is not a stronghold of terrorists but victim of terrorism, Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday said the terrorists are foreign-based and getting training abroad.

Addressing a press conference here after offering prayers marking the Muslim Eid al-Adha, Karzai called on the international forces to fight militants in their sanctuaries and training centers outside Afghanistan.

He did not mention any country by name, but Afghanistan has repeatedly claimed that militants are using lawless tribal areas in neighboring Pakistan as bases to fight in Afghanistan, an accusation categorically rejected by Islamabad.

The remarks came ahead of an announced two-day visit by Karzai to Pakistan from Dec. 26.

Pakistan has repeatedly rejected proposals about possible direct anti-militants mission of foreign troops inside its soil, saying its own forces are fully competent for the task.

Over 6,000 people, mostly insurgents, have been killed in violence and military conflicts so far this year in Afghanistan.

The Taliban, toppled in late 2001, has waged a years-long insurgency against the Afghan administration and been engaged in a guerrilla-style fighting with the government forces and the international troops besides launching roadside bombing and suicide attacks.

The insurgents, though cornered, are still exercising its influence in parts of southern and eastern Afghanistan and they, in a new wave of insurgency to avenge the defeat in direct confrontation, have apparently focused their "invisible" guns, like suicide blasts, towards major cities including the capital Kabul, analysts say.

The past two months have seen several suicide blasts targeting foreign troops and Afghan national army and police in Kabul and surrounding areas, leaving dozens dead.

U.N. Secretary-General's special envoy to Afghanistan Tom Koenigs said in mid-October that the United Nations had recorded 606 roadside bombs and 133 suicide attacks since January this year, up 30 percent from last year.

Koenigs has called for an "integrated political-military strategy" to overcome increased violence and bring peace to Afghanistan.

Deeply concerned about the worsening situation in Afghanistan, the United States and the NATO, according to western officials, have begun to review their Afghan mission.

The reviews reportedly acknowledge the need for greater coordination in fighting against Taliban and al-Qaida militants, halting the growing opium planting that allegedly finances the Taliban insurgency and helping the Afghan government extend its legitimacy and control.

Source: Xinhua



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