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Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Karzai sees new era with Pakistan

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (R) talks withAfghan Vice President Ahmad Zia Masood (2-L) upon his arrival at the Kabul International Airport on January 6, 2009.
Mr Zardari (right) was making his first official visit to Kabul

Afghanistan and Pakistan have a "new relationship" in tackling militancy, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said.

He was speaking after talks in Kabul with his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari.

Mr Zardari, on his first official visit to Afghanistan, said the two countries will work together for a better future.

In the past Mr Karzai has accused Pakistan of not doing enough to prevent its territory being used by militants who carry out cross-border attacks.

Warming

"We hope that this friendship, this new relationship achieves what is desired by both nations, which means a strong fight against terrorism, terrorism is defeated and is forced out, extremism is defeated," Mr Karzai told a joint news conference.

Mr Zardari added: "We intend to work towards a better tomorrow."

The BBC's Martin Patience in Kabul says the announcement appears to represent a warming in the often difficult relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Afghan officials have long accused Pakistan of providing sanctuaries for the Taleban and al-Qaeda militants in its border areas.

They also claimed that Pakistani intelligence agents were behind last year's bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.

But in the Pakistani president Hamid Karzai believes that he has found a man he can do business with, our correspondent says.

The harsh rhetoric often traded between the two countries has reduced in recent months.

But neither president spelt out how this "new relationship" will actually work and critics say that the two men are not politically strong enough to effectively tackle the militants.

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