June 10 - Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls on Pakistan to help end a 10-year Taliban insurgency. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A plea for support from Hamid Karzai. As Pakistan hosts the Afghan President, he continues to press his neighbor for support to help end the 10-year old Taliban insurgency. At a joint news conference with his Pakistani counterpart, Karzai called for a united front. SOUNDBITE: Afghan President Hamid Karzai, saying (English): "We must all work together, the United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and rest of us to remove terrorism or any vestiges of it still around, for the good of all of us. The struggle is a struggle for all and the victory will be in the interest of all." Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari pledged his support. SOUNDBITE: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, saying (English): "Pakistan is there to support the Afghan government, the Afghan people, and we stand with them. We can not expect to have peace in the region, if we do not have peace in Afghanistan." Pakistan, which backed the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan during the late 1990s, will be crucial to any attempts to stabilize its western neighbor. Brigadier General Josef Blotz in Kabul was made available to Reuters by the Pentagon. SOUNDBITE: Brigadier General Josef Blotzi, saying (English): "It's very very important, the regional context is actually what it all comes down to. We are talking about the common enemy for Pakistan and Afghanistan and that has to be addressed jointly . This is actually the purpose of President Karzai's visit and it is just the next step in a series of talks between his counterparts in Islamabad and the government here in Kabul. " Pakistan says it is already stretched fighting its own home-grown Taliban militants. But Islamabad may be more inclined to act after the United States, which provides billions of dollars of aid, discovered al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden living in Pakistan. U.S. special forces killed him in a town not far from Islamabad on May 2. This summer foreign forces will hand security control in parts of Afghanistan to the national police and army, launching a nearly four-year long process that Western nations and Karzai hope will ensure the departure of all international combat troops by the end of 2014. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters.