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ASIA: Afghanistan welcomes Obama's election

05 Nov 2008 6:34 PM
ASIA: Afghanistan welcomes Obama's election

KABUL, Nov 5 AFP - Afghan President Hamid Karzai today congratulated Barack Obama on his White House victory, saying his election had taken the world into a "new era."

"The election of Senator Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States has taken the American people and the rest of the world with them into a new era - an era where race, colour and ethnicity, I hope, will also disappear ... in politics in the rest of the world," he said.

The US-backed Afghan president said he hoped that Afghanistan, divided along ethnic lines after decades of bitter conflict, and other countries riven by war and suffering could one day see a similar event.

"I hope we and the rest of the world, in particular in our own country Afghanistan, follow in the same footsteps," he said.

Karzai reiterated that the new US administration should change strategy in the "war on terror" to avoid civilian casualties, as nearly 70,000 US and NATO troops battle to crush Taliban and other militants in Afghanistan.

"Our demand is the repetition of demands we have had since long ago and that is a change of the strategy of the war against terrorism," he said.

The "'war on terror' cannot be fought in Afghan villages... Afghanistan is the victim of terrorism," Karzai said.

The "'war on terror' should be directed to its nests and its training centres," he said, referring to militant hideouts in the tribal areas of neighbouring Pakistan.

Afghanistan has accused Pakistan, another of Washington's key "war on terror" allies, of not doing enough to prevent extremists crossing the notoriously porous border to mount attacks.

The Afghan leader restated his position that mounting civilian casualties from operations by foreign forces in Afghanistan was the main source of tension between Kabul and Washington.

AFP tnf=0A