Obama calls Zardari on U.S.-Pakistan partnership

16:01, December 02, 2009      

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Hours before unveiling his new strategy for Afghanistan, U.S. President Barack Obama called his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday to ensure Pakistan's support.

President Obama "recognized the profound sacrifices Pakistan has made in its efforts to combat extremists in its northwest and emphasized that our goal is to defeat al-Qaeda and to ensure stability in the region," said a White House statement.

"The two presidents agreed that the close partnership between Pakistan and the United States is vital to success, and President Obama promised to continue to assist Pakistan in its efforts against extremists," said the statement.

Obama is expected to announce later Tuesday the deployment of up to 35,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and the acceleration of security responsibility transfer from U.S. forces to Afghans.

Islamabad's support is believed vital for the success of U.S. strategy in Afghanistan.

Obama ordered to send 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan in March and U.S. troop levels there have since grown to 68,000. However, as the situation in Afghanistan deteriorates, Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has been calling for 40,000 more troops since August to quell the insurgency led by Taliban.

On Monday night, Obama also called Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Source: Xinhua
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