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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

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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