June 8 - Future of Afghanistan was a main issue at this week's Shanghai Co-operation Organisation summit in Beijing. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Chinese President Hu Jintao told his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai on Friday (June 8) that China would provide "sincere and selfless help" to Afghanistan, as he welcomed the country to become an observer at a security block anchored by Beijing and Moscow. Hu congratulated Karzai on Afghanistan becoming an observer member of the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) and called Karzai an old friend of China, according to a pool report. The future of Afghanistan, struggling to end an insurgency by Taliban militants despite the presence of U.S.-led international forces for more than a decade, was one of the main issues at the two-day Beijing security summit. Hu said in an interview with Chinese state media this week that the bloc bringing together China, Russia and central Asian states wants to play a bigger role in Afghanistan, as group leaders gathered for the SCO summit. However, a senior Russian official ruled out any military involvement by member countries, despite fears instability will spread across the region as most foreign combat troops leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Afghanistan's presidential place said on Thursday that Karzai was cutting short his official visit to China after reports of civilian deaths in a NATO airstrike in the southeast and an insurgent bombing in the south.