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Rice, Miliband Make Surprise Visit to Kabul

Published: February 8, 2008 (Issue # 1346)



  • Condoleezza Rice (l), Hamid Karzai (c) and David Miliband shake hands at a press conference in Kabul on Thursday.
    Photo: Reuters

KABUL U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denied here Thursday the allied strategy to stabilise Afghanistan was failing, saying it was incomplete and needed innovation to crush determined enemies.

Rice made her case during a press conference in Kabul with President Hamid Karzai and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband who accompanied her on a surprise visit here amid growing fears for Afghanistans future.

You have determined enemies. We know that. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda continue to make life difficult for ordinary Afghans, the top US diplomat told Karzai in the highly fortified and snow-covered presidential palace.

She said the NATO-led force and Afghan security forces had to focus much more on fighting new Taliban tactics such as suicide bombings and kidnappings after large-scale offensives mounted by the militants had failed.

Theyve tried to adopt other tactics, like going after innocent people. Well have to adapt too. The Afghan government, the Afghan forces will have to adapt, Rice said.

But to say its not working, I think, I would say its not complete, but the strategy is one, I believe, that is having a good effect, she said.

Miliband said the response of key allies to the new Taliban tactics amounted to a new phase in the six-year war.

Rice and Karzai hailed the building of road networks since U.S.-led forces toppled the Taliban and its Al-Qaeda allies at the end of 2001 something the U.S. diplomat said helped boost the economy as well as find the militants.

They also cited improvements in health and education, other signs Rice said showed the country had made a remarkable difference for the better over the many decades it had spent as a failed state.

Rice and Miliband were also here as part of a joint bid to urge NATO allies to share the burden in Afghanistan by sending more combat troops, helicopters and other military equipment to defeat a resurgent Taliban in its southern strongholds.

Germany rebuffed U.S. appeals last week to send such troops in a public tiff that fuelled fears voiced in Washington and London that the international community may fragment and abandon Afghanistan.

Canada has meanwhile threatened not to extend its mission beyond next year unless it gets more support.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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