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Afghan president brings aid to quake-hit Pakistan
Updated: 2005-10-24 16:10

Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Islamabad with more aid for survivors of the powerful earthquake which devastated northern Pakistan this month, officials said.

"President Karzai has arrived," Pakistani foreign office spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said on Monday.

His office in Kabul said he had brought five tonnes (tons) of medicine and a 30-strong medical team to Islamabad, as well as his foreign, defence and health ministers.

Karzai was expected to discuss relief measures with the Pakistani leadership following the October 8 quake that killed more than 53,000 people, injured about 75,000 and made more than three million homeless.

He was due to meet President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz to "discuss the ongoing international rescue and relief operations... and Afghanistan's assistance to the victims of the earthquake," a statement said.

The medical team was made up of doctors, nurses and pharmacists.

The government of poverty-stricken Afghanistan has already contributed four military helicopters, medical teams, food aid and cash to the relief operation.

At least eight US helicopters and five German aircraft based in Afghanistan to maintain security and help with reconstruction after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001 have also been diverted to Pakistan.

Afghanistan is grateful for Pakistan's hosting thousands of refugees who fled an earlier Soviet invasion but their relations have been strained over Taliban and other militants believed to be sheltering in Pakistani territory.

Pakistan has carried out several operations to root out the militants, who cross into Afghanistan to carry out attacks as part of an insurgency against Karzai's government, but some officials in Afghanistan say it is not doing enough to round up the fighters.

Reacting to the worst tragedy in Pakistan's history, Karzai last week launched an appeal to the Afghan people to extend maximum help to the neighbouring nation.

"The hearts of the Afghan people are full of grief and pain and sorrow for our brothers and sisters in Pakistan, for those who have suffered," he said.

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