KABUL - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown warned yesterday the Afghan-Pakistan border was a "crucible of terrorism" as he touted a new strategy to tackle Islamist insurgency. Brown, who held talks in Kabul with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, said the new approach would treat both countries as "different but complementary."
After holding talks with Karzai, Brown flew into the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, where he faced questions about the botched arrest in Britain of 11 Pakistani students on terror charges. As Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to press yesterday, British Prime Minister was holding key talks with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.
Karzai to run for re-election
Meanwhile, the Afghan leader Karzai told the news conference with Brown that he would run for re-election, saying he would shortly register his candidacy for the August vote that had been pushed back from April over security fears. "The election year will be a stern test for everyone, but we face a choice: confront extremism here and in Pakistan or let it come to us," said Brown.
Britain is the second-biggest contributor of foreign troops to Afghanistan after the United States, deploying around 8,300 as part of a NATO-led force based mostly in the south, the heartland of a Taliban insurgency. A total of 152 British soldiers have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led invasion in October.