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Bush, Musharraf Pledge Unity to Fight, Defeat Terrorism

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, March 4, 2006 – The United States' and Pakistan's top leaders today renewed their pledge to work together to defeat global terrorism during a news conference held in Pakistan's capital.

President George W. Bush and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf spoke to reporters in Islamabad shortly before the American chief of state returned to the United States. Bush, accompanied by First Lady Laura Bush, visited Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.

Bush said he and Musharraf "reaffirmed our shared commitment to a broad and lasting strategic partnership." And, that partnership "begins with close cooperation in the war on terror," Bush said.

The American president also praised Musharraf for joining America in the war against terrorism that began shortly after the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001. "Pakistan has captured or killed hundreds of al Qaeda terrorists. Pakistan has lost brave citizens in this fight," Bush said.

Pakistan has indeed been targeted by terrorists. A March 2 suicide car bombing in Karachi killed four people - including American diplomat David Foy - and injured more than 50 Pakistanis.

Bush, in India at the time of the Karachi bombing, had vowed he wouldn't let the incident deter him from visiting Pakistan. "Terrorists and killers are not going to prevent me from going to Pakistan," Bush said in India before he departed for Pakistan.

Musharraf himself has escaped several assassination attempts by terrorists. At today's Islamabad news conference, Musharraf said his country and the United States "have always had a strategic partnership."

The U.S.-Pakistani partnership involves trade, investments, education and defense relationships, Musharraf said, to include "cooperation in our fight against terrorism and extremism."

Musharraf also thanked Bush and the United States for providing assistance to Pakistan in the wake of the deadly earthquake that struck the Kashmir region on Oct. 8, 2005. "I don't think without the assistance of the Chinooks (helicopters) of (the) United States and the medical teams, the hospitals, that we could have met the challenges of the relief operation in the earthquake," Musharraf said.

The United States and Pakistan have a solid relationship, Bush reiterated.

Bush had a message for terrorists worldwide, noting Pakistan and the United States are "not going to back down in the face of these killers."

And, the United States and Pakistan will "fight this war and we will win this war together," Bush said.

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