Karzai meets Chirac at start of Paris visit
PARIS, Oct 3 (AFP) - Afghan president Hamid Karzai met French president Jacques Chirac Monday at the start of a three-day official visit to Paris.
It is the Afghan leader’s first foreign visit since parliamentary elections last month in his war-shattered country, the first in more than three decades. The results are expected late this month.
In an interview with the newspaper Le Figaro, Karzai said he wanted to see anti-terrorist operations take place in neighbouring countries to counter the violence which still racks Afghanistan.
“Most of the terrorist acts committed in Afghanistan aren’t prepared in our country. That’s why we have to crack down on where they are organised,” Karzai said.
He said he was “not accusing anyone in particular,” though he has in the past alleged Pakistan was not doing enough to stop groups based on its territory crossing over the border to launch attacks in Afghanistan.
He added that the United States remained his “main ally” in combatting the remnants of the ousted Taliban regime and Islamic militants seeking to usurp his government.
France has some 200 soldiers in Afghanistan, helping 20,000 US-led troops who are battling loyalists of the Taliban government that was ousted in late 2001.
Another 600 French troops are taking part in a 10,500-strong separate NATO-led ISAF peacekeeping force based in Kabul.
France, however, is among European countries resisting a push by Washington to have NATO take over both operations.
Karzai said he hoped “to find a solution that will satisfy everybody” on that issue during his talks with Chirac.
The Afghan president and three ministers accompanying him were also to meet French prime minister Dominique de Villepin, foreign finister Philippe Douste-Blazy and defence minister Michèle Alliot-Marie during talks Monday and Tuesday.
On Wednesday, he is to address the UNESCO General Conference underway in Paris before returning to Kabul.
Subject: French news