ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – NATO's commander in Afghanistan praised Pakistan's role in the war on terror but pressed the country's president on Tuesday for more cooperation to combat militancy, a Pakistani official said.
An official from the Pakistan president's office said Richards "praised Pakistan's role in the fight against terrorism but suggested that there should be an extended cooperation between NATO and Pakistan" to defeat terrorism.
Afghan officials say Taliban militants hide in Pakistan and stage cross-border attacks against the Afghan government and NATO and U.S. troops.
Pakistan denies the allegations, saying it has deployed about 80,000 troops along its border with Afghanistan to hunt militants.
Richards arrived in Pakistan on Monday on his first visit since NATO took control of eastern Afghanistan from the U.S.-led coalition on Oct. 5, putting the Western military alliance in control of the entire country.
Afghanistan is suffering some of its deadliest violence since a U.S. military campaign ousted the Taliban from power in Afghanistan in late 2001 for harboring Al Qaeda.
On Sunday, Richards told The Associated Press that Afghanistan was at a "tipping point" and warned that if there were no visible improvements in people's lives in the next six months people would likely switch their allegiances to the Taliban.
Musharraf sought to assure the NATO chief that Pakistan was "sincerely extending cooperation and support to the coalition forces and Afghan President Hamid Karzai's government," the Pakistani official said.
But Musharraf said 90 percent of Afghanistan's problems emanated from within Afghanistan, the official added.
Richards' visit comes amid protracted efforts by Pakistani and Afghan authorities to seal their frontier, where pro-Taliban forces and Al Qaeda militants, including Usama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, are believed to be hiding.