Delegates arrive in Kabul

August 09, 2007

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KABUL, Aug 8: A three-day Pakistan-Afghanistan Joint Peace Jirga opens here at Bagh-i-Balan here on Thursday to seek ways to quash support for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants who have destabilised parts of both countries.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will address the inaugural session of the jirga.

Over 600 delegates from both sides are attending the jirga to discuss the need for concerted efforts to combat the menace of terrorism and elements involved in subversive and anti-state activities in both countries.

It will also try to evolve a bilateral mechanism to meet periodically to facilitate implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the jirga.

The participants will discuss ways and means to strengthen bilateral relations on the basis of good neighbourliness, respect for territorial integrity and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.

Also on the agenda is the issue of an alarming increase in poppy cultivation, processing and trafficking and underlying connection between terrorism and durg trafficking and organised crimes in the region.

“The basic aim of this jirga is to find ways of restoring peace in this region,” said Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema. Nearly 2,500 police personnel would guard the event, the Afghan Interior Ministry said.

The Pakistani members of the jirga arrived here on Wednesday afternoon.

At the airport, Kabul Governor Haji Din Muhammad and Helmand Governor Asadullah Wafa received the Pakistan delegation. —Agencies