Ahmadinejad slams foreign troops, Karzai leaves for Pakistan
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Afghan President Hmid Karzai has arrived in Pakistan for an official visit, after hearing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad condemn the presence of foreign troops in his country on a visit to Kabul Wednesday.
"We do not see the presence of foreign military forces in Afghanistan as a solution for peace in Afghanistan," Ahmadinejad told a joint press conference with Karzai.
His trip coincided with a visit by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who has accused Tehran of playing a double game in Afghanistan.
"You are 12,000 kilometres away on the other side of the world. You are on the other side of the world. What are you doing here?” he asked."They are playing a double game. They themselves created terrorists and say they want to fight against terrorism."
The visit is “consistent with Ahmadinejad’s strategy of reworking relationships with the neighbours”, comments analyst Ehteshami Anoush at Britain’s Durham University, pointing out that he has recently visited Turkey and Syria and kept communications open with the Gulf Arab states.
“Afghanistan is the other key country for Iran,” he says. “The timing is important, given that the [US-led] coalition are heavily engaged with combating the Taliban."
Karzai went on to Islamabad on Wednesday afternoon. He is to attend an official dinner with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday.
A car bomb killed five people in the eastern Afghan province of Paktika Wednesday.
In Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province men armed with guns and grenades stormed the offices of US-based Christian charity World Vision, killing five Pakistani staff, including two women.
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