Afghan government supports regional security partnership

Kabul, January 2, 2005 - The Afghan government favors a security partnership plan among regional countries and would support any talks in this field among them, a Defense Ministry spokesman said Sunday.

"Ministry for National Defense is in favor of regional security partnership talks over the issue with the neighboring countries, which includes the new Afghan defense minister's agenda," Zahir Azimi told journalists at a news conference.

"Fighting terrorism, drug abuse and smuggling weapons requires a collective war among the neighboring nations," he noted. He added that cooperation among the neighboring nations would help eliminate terrorism and drug threat in the region.

New Defense Minister General Abdul Rahim Wardak, who took office last week, also briefed his French counterpart Michele Alliot-Marie about his plan for a regional security partnership last Friday and received her backing, according to Azimi.

The French defense minister, who was on a two-day visit to the Central Asian country, marked the New Year's Eve with French forces deployed in Kabul under the leadership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). She also held talks with H.E. President Hamid Karzai.