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Japan urges Karzai to improve Islamabad ties

May 05, 2008

KABUL, May 4: Japanese Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura met President Hamid Karzai during a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Sunday in which he urged better relations with Pakistan.

Komura, who arrived from Islamabad, told reporters he had also called on Afghan leaders to focus on improving the quality of government as well as tackle the booming narcotics trade.

He said through an interpreter that he had asked his Afghan counterpart Rangeen Dafar Spanta to work to “improve relations” with Pakistan. The neighbours have exchanged accusations about the source of the militancy in Afghanistan.

Komura also said his country would push for more international support for Afghanistan at a conference of the Group of Eight rich nations due in Japan in July. Japan has been a major donor to Afghanistan, pledging $1.3 billion since the fall of the Taliban.—AFP