Pakistan - France - UK

Afghan war being lost, Zardari tells French press

Reuters

Foreign forces are losing the war in Afghanistan, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari told a French newspaper before going to the UK, where he will meet British Prime Minister David Cameron. Despite devastating floods back home, Zardari claims his trip is necessary to restore calm in relations with the former colonial power.

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"The international community, to which Pakistan belongs, is losing the war against the Taliban. This is above all because we have lost the battle to win hearts and minds," he told Le Monde.

Although he said the Taliban have no chance of regaining power, he warned that “their grip is strengthening”.

Cameron stood by his criticism, made in India, of Pakistan’s relations with armed Islamists in an interview with the BBC Tuesday.

“I don’t regret that at all,” he said, adding that “the relation with Pakistan is strong and will remain strong”.

And Downing Street has told the Pakistani press that the prime minister will repeat the call to crack down on the violent organisations

Zardari says he will explain why Islamabad is angry "face to face" with Cameron.

"The war against terrorism must unite us and not oppose us," Zardari he told Le Monde, after he met French leaders. "I will explain face to face that it is my country that is
paying the highest price in human life for this war.”

The fact that Zardari is continuing the visit as floods devastate much of his country has sparked protests in Pakistan and criticism by opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. Some British politicians of Pakistani origin have pulled out of a scheduled lunch with Zardari, saying that he should be at home tackling the crisis.
 

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