Musharraf addresses Kabul jirga

The Pakistan president has appealed for Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together to rescue their societies from the backwardness and violence of extremism at a the close of a meeting of tribal elders in Kabul.

Musharraf addresses Kabul jirga

The Pakistan president has appealed for Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together to rescue their societies from the backwardness and violence of extremism at a the close of a meeting of tribal elders in Kabul.

Pervez Musharraf flew in on Sunday at the close of a four-day council discussing al-Qaeda and Taliban.

Musharraf, who had declined to attend the talks at the last minute because of domestic issues, said the neighbours must overcome mutual mistrust and concentrate on this "critical" endeavour.



Relations between Musharraf and Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, had deteriorated recently.

"Our societies face a great danger (from) a small minority that create violence and backwardness," Musharraf told about 700 tribal elders, politicians and other figures from both sides of the troubled border.

"These forces are disrupting peace and harmony, impeding our progress and development," he said.

"We must rescue our societies from this danger and work together until we defeat the forces of extremism and terrorism," he said, adding that the success of this effort was "critical for the future of peace.'

Musharraf had been expected to open the "peace jirga" on Thursday with Hamid Karzai, his Afghan counterpart, but pulled out at the last minute citing security concerns.

He reversed his decision after phone calls from Karzai and Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state.

Musharraf told the delegates that countries should stop blaming each other about the causes of the violence.

"May God withdraw mistrust from our minds and hearts and provide atmosphere for togetherness, equality and brotherhood and for trust," he said.

Before Musharraf's closing address, a joint declaration was distributed to the delegates that summarised the outcome of the jirga.

It called for measures against what it sees as terrorism, including rooting out training grounds, and for the establishment of a council to push for closer co-operation between the two neighbours.

"Too little, too late"?

Kamal Hyder, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Islamabad, said: "A lot of people here are asking if this is too little, too late.

"Musharraf and Karzai have both become unpopular in their own countries and many people say this jirga is not going to achieve anything."

The jirga began deliberations on Thursday. Delegates had split into committees focused on topics such as the reasons for "terrorism", the fight against drugs - said to finance militants - and good neighbourliness, spokesman Asif Nang said.

The results of these findings are expected to help the formation of a strategy, to be announced on Sunday, before Musharraf and Karzai were to close the meeting, the spokesman said.

Recommendations are likely to include the establishment of a joint commission to analyse factors fuelling terrorism and another on fighting the drugs trade and organised crime, Afghan media reported on Sunday.

Al Jazeera, Agencies

Last Mod: 12 Ağustos 2007, 16:26
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