It is impossible to eliminate extremism without the full cooperation of regional countries, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday at a meeting of leaders from around Asia.
Speaking at the 12th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in the Azerbaijan capital Baku, Karzai emphasised that everyone has to accept that terrorists have safe havens in the region.
“We have to honestly accept that terrorists have safe havens in the region. It’s impossible to eradicate them without the full cooperation from regional countries,” Karzai told the conference attendees, adding that the existence of these havens was a threat to all.
He pointed to the historic good relations of Afghanistan with ECO member countries, adding that there are plenty of opportunities available to provide a better future for the people of region.
“I believe that there are many opportunities for the ECO member countries. If we use these wisely we will overcome most of our problems,” Karzai said.
Karzai urged for other countries to respect that the sacrifices of the Afghan people and armed forces were not only protecting Afghanistan but were also preventing the infiltration of terrorists to other Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries.
“Terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Eastern Turkistan Movement, and terrorist groups in Chechnya have been in our region for many years now and are being fed and trained to destroy us,” Karzai said.
“We want our borders to be peaceful and stable,” he added.
The ECO met Tuesday to examine ways to promote trade and investment opportunities with the common goal being to establish a single market for goods and services, similar to the European Union.
Karzai is on his way to Kuwait to attend the first summit of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) on October 16 and 17.
ACD was inaugurated in June 2002 in Thailand, but is having its first summit this year with around 18 nations from the Asian continent attending.
The summit will cover issues related to energy supply, food security, financing of projects, IT and foreign investment in the form of sovereign wealth funds.