AFGHAN President Hamid Karzai told a counterterrorism summit in Tehran that despite his government’s efforts, militancy was on the rise in both his country and the region.
“Unfortunately, despite all the achievements in the fields of education, infrastructure and reconstruction, not only has Afghanistan not yet achieved peace and security, but terrorism is expanding and threatening more than ever Afghanistan and the region,” he told the opening session.
The two-day summit is being attended by the heads of state of six regional countries, including Afghan neighbours Iran and Pakistan.
“Peace, stability in our country are truly threatened. All countries in the region must help fight terrorism, since terrorism has such power that no nation can be spared,” Karzai told fellow leaders.
“The problems of Afghanistan should be settled through dialogue,” he added.
As Karzai spoke, a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle by a hospital in Logar province, just south of the capital Kabul, killing 30 people, a provincial official said.
Responding to US President Barack Obama’s announcement of a drawdown of US troop in Afghanistan, Karzai said his government will speed up its efforts to take over security.
He described Obama’s decision as “a good step in their favour and in favour of Afghanistan”.
“We thank the international community for the services that they gave to Afghanistan,” Karzai told reporters, adding: “This land only can be and should be built by the hands of its sons.”
Obama announced on Wednesday that 10,000 US troops would leave Afghanistan this year and all 33,000 forces sent as part of a surge ordered in late 2009 would be home by next summer.
The Taliban, which has been waging a deadly insurgency against Western troops in Afghanistan, charged that the US move was only “symbolic”.
In an emailed statement, the militia said that “the solution for the Afghan crisis lies in the full withdrawal of all foreign troops immediately” – and that “our armed struggle will increase” until that happens.