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Bhutto's death a setback in fight against extremists, Afghan officials say

Bhutto's death a setback in fight against extremists, Afghan officials say

The killing of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto is seen in Afghanistan as a setback in attempts at forming a regional front in confronting Taliban and al-Qaida militants threatening both countries.
Bhutto was gunned down Thursday as she drove away from a campaign rally just minutes after addressing thousands of supporters in Pakistan's garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Afghan officials lamented the death of a brave leader, who was determined to fight extremism in Pakistan and wished for peace in Afghanistan.
Many in the government here had hopes Bhutto would win Jan. 8 parliamentary elections, opening the way for closer cooperation between the neighbors, whose lawless tribal areas provide a steady stream of fighters, supplies and other support for the insurgency.
President Hamid Karzai, one of the last officials to meet with Bhutto during his visit to Pakistan on Thursday, said she was a brave woman with a clear vision "for her own country, for Afghanistan and for the region _ a vision of democracy and prosperity and peace."
"I found in her this morning a lot of love and desire for peace in Afghanistan, for prosperity in Afghanistan and for an Afghanistan and Pakistan that would be happy, prosperous and of good relations with each other," a somber Karzai said at a news conference in Kabul late Thursday.
Currently, relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan are precarious at best, and their shared lawless border is considered one of the most dangerous places on earth.
Afghan officials accuse Pakistan and its government of allowing Taliban militants to use the tribal areas to stage attacks on Afghan and foreign troops in the country.
The violence in Afghanistan this year has left more than 6,300 people dead, while the militants have launched more than 140 suicide attacks.
Relations between Karzai and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have been shaky the last several years, though military cooperation and communication along the border have improved in recent months, as have relations between the two leaders.


Updated : 2021-02-26 21:43 GMT+08:00