President returns from 5-day visit to Britain
KABUL (PAN): President Hamid Karzai on Saturday returned from a five-day state visit to Britain, where he attended the 9thWorld Islamic Economic Forum and a trilateral summit with UK and Pakistani prime ministers.
Apart from talks with host leaders, the president also met several Muslim world leaders on the sidelines of the forum, visited the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He saw British Army officer training in action.
A statement from his office said the president also met at Sandhurst five Afghan officer cadets who are training at the academy, watching them being put through their paces in the Sandhurst training ground.
During a speech at the Oxford University on the last day of his visit, Karzai highlighted the achievements made by Afghanistan in political, economic, social, cultural and security spheres over the last 12 years.
While stressing youth’s role in rebuilding and stabilising the country, the president said his administration had been able to send abroad many students on scholarships for higher education.
He acknowledged instability as a formidable challenge, saying: “Afghanistan and its international allies, including NATO and the US, have yet to overcome the security situation.”
Referring to civilian casualties in counterinsurgency operations, he reiterated his administration’s stance that the war on terrorism should not be fought in Afghan cities and villages.
On the bilateral security agreement between Afghanistan and the US, the president restated his conditions, including security guarantees and respect for the country’s sovereignty.
At an upcoming Loya Jirga on the security deal, public representatives from across the country would debate and decide on America’s continued military presence.
About next year’s presidential and provincial council polls, he said fair and transparent elections that were free of foreign and domestic interference would reinforce democracy in Afghanistan.
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