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Pakistan backs Afghan rebuilding

Karzai and Musharraf
The two men said disagreements of the past must be put behind them  

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistani leader Gen. Pervez Musharraf assured Afghan interim chairman Hamid Karzai Friday that his nation will back that nation's reconstruction efforts.

"We are bound by a common geography," Musharraf said at a news conference with Karzai. "The countries cannot avoid having close brotherly relations with each other."

"Our histories are bound together," the Pakistani president said following meetings with the Afghan delegation.

Musharraf was to leave later Friday for the United States and meetings with President Bush.

Musharraf said in addition to the $100 million his country has committed to rebuilding Afghanistan following years of conflict and the downfall of the Taliban regime, Pakistan will provide another $10 million for its immediate "cash-flow needs."

"Pakistan will remain with Afghanistan in all its endeavors to improve the lot of Afghanistan," Musharraf said. "This is assurance I have given to chairman Karzai."

The Afghan leader thanked Musharraf, saying, "We Afghans have nothing but good will for Pakistan."

"It could not have been possible to defeat terrorism in Afghanistan and to defeat the evil in Afghanistan again without Pakistan's help," Karzai said. He said he also appreciated Pakistan's willingness to accept Afghan refugees.

Both men also agreed that any disagreements between their nations in the past must be forgotten.

"These common misunderstandings have to be buried," Musharraf said.

It was Karzai's first visit to Pakistan after taking over as head of the interim administration in December. Karzai lived in exile with his family in the southwestern Pakistani city of Quetta before he was chosen for his post. Karzai indicated he still has a home there.

While pointing to the escalating efforts to rebuild his country, Karzai also said much remains to be done in fighting terrorism and locating suspected terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, both of whom escaped after the Taliban fall.

"The war against terrorism is not yet over. We will have to go and look for them," Karzai said. "If you come to Afghanistan, you will see what they have done to us."

He said his government is still screening Pakistanis who were captured after fighting with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

"The good ones will come home. The bad ones are a matter for all of us to deal with," Karzai said. "You will have your brothers here very soon."

On other issues, Karzai said he is hoping for a "just" resolution to the tensions between Pakistan and India over the disputed region of Kashmir.

And Musharraf said he is hopeful that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted Jan. 23 in Karachi, will be found.

"We are hopeful that he will be released," Musharraf said. "We are getting near. We have some key personalities."




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