Afghan and Pakistan presidents vow to cooperate to fight terrorism

Afghan and Pakistan presidents vow to cooperate to fight terrorism Ankara - The presidents of Pakistan and Afghanistan on Wednesday recommitted themselves to cooperate on fighting terrorism and drug trafficking.

At a trilateral summit hosted by Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan agreed to step up cooperation and to formalize their meetings.

No formal decisions on setting up common security projects were made during the meeting. But speaking after the summit, Gul said the meetings were an important part of building trust and cooperation in the region.

He noted that they had agreed to hold the trilateral summit, known as that Ankara process, once a year. It was important, he said, that the military and intelligence chiefs of all three countries also attended the summit.

Karzai said that he welcomed developments which saw US and Iranian officials on Tuesday briefly meeting at an international conference in The Hague.

"It is the first sign of moving from a cold relationship to a warm relationship," Karzai said, noting that he was glad with Iran's help and support in the reconstruction in Afghanistan and its anti-drug smuggling efforts.

Richard Holbrooke, US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Iranian deputy Foreign Minister Medhi Akhundzadeh met during the conference in The Hague where US President Barrack Obama's new approach to dealing with Afghanistan's problems was widely-supported by the international community.

Obama's plan consists of intensifying the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda but also involves more reconstruction and increased training of the Afghan police and army.

Wednesday's one-day summit was the third to be hosted by Turkey. The first held in April 2007 was marked by accusations from Afghanistan that Pakistan was not doing enough, and was in effect encouraging Taliban extremists, thus creating instability inside Afghanistan itself.

The second summit in December last year with newly-elected Pakistan President Zardari was much more successful with both sides committing themselves to security cooperation. (dpa)