AFP / Dawn, Pakistan.
Seated around a table from left to right, Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rasoul, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Interior Minister Rehman Malik, and President Asif Ali Zardari, attend a round of talks at the Iranian presidency office in Tehran, June 24, 2011. — Photo by AP.
The joint statement by the three neighbours also came hot on the heels of an announcement by US President Barack Obama that Washington will withdraw 33,000 of its 99,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of next summer.
“All sides stressed their commitment to efforts aimed at eliminating extremism, militancy, terrorism, as well as rejecting foreign interference, which is in blatant opposition to the spirit of Islam, the peaceful cultural traditions of the region and its peoples’ interests,” the statement said.
“All sides agreed to continue meeting at foreign, interior, security and economy ministers’ level to prepare a roadmap for the next summit due to be held in Islamabad before the end of 2011,” added the statement carried by Iran’s official IRNA news agency.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Iranian and Pakistani counterparts Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Asif Ali Zardari held three-way talks on Friday ahead of a six-nation counterterrorism conference on Saturday.
The three leaders discussed “ways of battling terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking,” IRNA said.
In his speech at the opening session of the two-day summit, Karzai said that despite his government’s efforts, militancy was on the rise both in his country and in the region.