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NATO chief seeks to tackle Afghan security challenge
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Visiting NATO secretary general Jaapde Hoop Scheffer said Thursday in Kabul a regional approach is "more than ever" needed in tackling Afghan security situation, calling for increased political attention from concerned parts and international community.

The remarks came amid surging criticism from Afghan officials who said militants were using sanctuaries inside Pakistani soil to launch cross-border attacks into Afghanistan and the reported peace talks recently between Islamabad and militants based in its northwest areas led to escalated militancy on Afghan side.

Visiting NATO secretary general Jaapde Hoop Scheffer said Thursday here a regional approach is

NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (L) speaks as Afghan President Hamid Karzai watches during a news conference in Kabul July 24, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo) 

Scheffer, who was on a surprise visit to the Afghan capital Thursday, attended a joint press conference with President Hamid Karzai, during which Karzai said peace agreements between Islamabad and militants should not pave the way for militants to freely conduct activities against Afghanistan.

The visiting NATO chief, however, in a more constructive tone of voice, said Pakistan, also facing militants' trouble, is part of a political solution for security problems challenging the region.

"I cannot imagine anyone who considers it acceptable that many terrorists from all over the world gather" in some of its area and create mischief, Scheffer said. "For Pakistan, it can also never be a positive development."

He said Afghanistan and Pakistan and the international community have to pay more political attention to this very serious problem.

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