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Musharraf Addresses Closing Jirga Session in Afghanistan


Afghanisan Jirga: Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf told more than 600 Afghan and Pakistani tribal leaders today (Sunday) that the two countries must work together to end the rise of extremism and violence along their border.
In an address to the closing session of a four-day tribal "peace jirga" in Kabul, General Musharraf said, "along with Afghanistan, Pakistan has also witnessed the rise of militancy and violence attacking" their societies. He added - in his words - "we must rescue our societies from this danger and work together until we defeat the forces of extremism and terrorism."
The gathering in Afghanistan has been focusing on issues dividing Afghanistan and Pakistan. The grand jirga is aimed at improving security and strengthening bilateral relations.
President Musharraf met briefly with his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, before speaking to the jirga.

Afghanistan Hostages: A Taleban spokesman says two South Korean hostages are still being held, but will be freed soon.
The same spokesman (Qari Mohammad Yousuf) said on Saturday that the Taleban had released two of 21 South Korean hostages being held in Afghanistan.
The spokesman said the two women were freed as a goodwill gesture. But Afghan and South Korean officials are still not able verify the statement.
Saturday's announcement came after a second round of negotiations between Taleban representatives and South Korean delegates in the southern Afghan city of Ghazni.

Afghan Violence: The U.S. military in Afghanistan says a roadside bomb killed three coalition soldiers and an interpreter in the eastern part of the country today (Sunday).


A statement said coalition forces were engaged in combat near the border with Pakistan when they were hit by the blast.
In another incident, the British Defense Ministry says a British soldier was killed in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province Saturday. Five soldiers were slightly wounded in the battle with Taleban insurgents.
Elsewhere, NATO officials say a soldier with the International Security Assistance Force was killed and several others wounded during an attack in southern Afghanistan Saturday.

Iraq: The U.S. military says four American soldiers have been killed in an explosion during fighting south of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. A statement today (Sunday) said the soldiers were killed and another four were wounded in the blast during combat operations on Saturday.
In another incident, the military said a soldier was killed by small arms fire Saturday while on foot patrol southeast of Baghdad.
Also Saturday, a roadside bomb killed the governor and police chief of Diwaniyah province (, a Shi'ite area) south of Baghdad.
Medical workers said three members of the governor's security detail also died (along with Governor Khalil Jalil Hamza and the police chief, Khalid Hassan).

US – France: U.S. President George Bush and French President Nicolas Sarkozy say France and the United States differ on some issues, but that should have no effect on warm and friendly relations between the countries.
Mr. Bush welcomed President Sarkozy to the Bush family vacation home on the Atlantic coast in (the northeastern U.S. state of) Maine Saturday for lunch and informal discussions (lasting nearly an hour).
Mr. Bush says it was a "heart-to-heart" talk on issues including the war in Iraq and uranium enrichment in Iran.
President Bush says past disputes over Iraq will not hinder the two nations' efforts to resolve other world problems, including conflicts in Lebanon and Sudan's Darfur region.


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