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Afghan president praises Obama's new war plan

  • Story Highlights
  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai says plan "better than what we expected"
  • Pakistan's Zadari also welcomes plan to pump economic aid into his country
  • Obama says plan to tackle "international security challenge of the highest order"
  • Obama: "Situation is increasingly perilous" in the area in and around Afghanistan
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KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday praised U.S. President Barack Obama's new plan for the war in Afghanistan.

President Hamid Karzai says Obama's plan has Afghanistan's full support.

President Hamid Karzai says Obama's plan has Afghanistan's full support.

"He has our full support," Karzai told a news conference. "This was better than what we expected."

Obama unveiled the plan Friday which called for more troops, new legislation, improved troop training and added civilian expertise in the war in Afghanistan.

Obama said the plan would address what he called an "international security challenge of the highest order."

Obama said the "situation is increasingly perilous" in the region in and around Afghanistan, where the United States has been fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban for more than seven and a half years after it was attacked in New York and at the Pentagon.

Obama said he is sending another 4,000 troops to Afghanistan along with hundreds of civilian specialists, such as agricultural specialists, educators and engineers. Video Watch CNN's Christiane Amanpour report on Obama's new plan »

The troops -- which are in addition to the 17,000 the president announced earlier would be sent to Afghanistan -- will be charged with training and building the Afghan Army and police force.

In Pakistan Saturday President Asif Ali Zardari also welcomed Obama's plan to pump economic aid into Pakistan.

Speaking to parliament on Saturday, Zardari hailed Obama's proposal for legislation authorizing $1.5 billion in direct support to the Pakistani people every year over the next five years.

It is part of Obama's strategy unveiled Friday to fight al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan.

Obama said such resources will help Pakistan "build schools, roads, and hospitals, and strengthen Pakistan's democracy."

"I welcome President Obama's call to the Congress to pass the bill for $1.5 billion aid to Pakistan every year," Zardari said.

"The U.S. presidency now approaches and presents a positive change. It is an endorsement of our call for economical, social uplifts" to help fight extremism.

"We are fighting militancy and extremism for our own sake. We will continue to do so for the sake of our children."

Obama's plan was unveiled during an uptick in Taliban and al Qaeda activity in both countries.

On Saturday, Pakistani security forces killed 26 militants in the country's volatile tribal region, the army told CNN.

In Afghanistan, five armed militants died in a skirmish in the country's south, the U.S. military said. The incident occurred Friday in Uruzgan province, where coalition forces found and destroyed three improvised explosive devices.

Over the past few years, militants have used Pakistan's tribal region have used that area as a base to pursue insurgent activity in eastern and southern Afghanistan.

Zardari addressed this issue, saying Pakistan will not permit the use of its soil for "terrorist activity" and has set up a national counterterrorism authority. He said Pakistan also will not allow its sovereignty to be violated.

He said a strategy is being developed to address urgent "security challenges," including grass-roots support for Islamic militants in the tribal region.

"This strategy is based on making peace with those willing to give up violence, but at the same time to deal firmly with those who challenge the government."


He also called for bolstering police forces in Pakistan's provinces.

Pakistan has felt the fury of insurgents in recent months. This week, a string of attacks in the tribal region included a suicide bombing at a mosque on Friday that left at least 51 people dead.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Saturday praised U.S. President Barack Obama's new plan for the war in Afghanistan.

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