Image: Hamid Karzai
Shah Marai  /  AP
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, right, talks with U.N. Security Council ambassadors and envoys at the presidential palace in Kabul on Tuesday.
updated 11/25/2008 11:42:16 AM ET 2008-11-25T16:42:16

President Hamid Karzai told a visiting U.N. Security Council delegation Tuesday that the international community should set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan.

It appeared to be the first time Karzai has called for a time limit on the international effort to defeat Taliban militants and raise a stable and competent Afghan security force and government.

"If there is no deadline, we have the right to find another solution for peace and security, which is negotiations," Karzai was quoted as saying in a statement from his office.

Karzai didn't specify when he wants the deadline set by. The international community and the United States are ramping up military and aid efforts in Afghanistan. The U.S. now has some 32,000 troops in the country, but U.S. military leaders say up to 20,000 more American forces could be sent to Afghanistan next year.

The Afghan president also told the U.N. team that airstrikes by international military forces and searches in Afghan homes must stop, the statement said. Karzai has made that demand repeatedly.

The U.N. delegation is in Afghanistan to push for regional cooperation as it takes stock of the situation in Afghanistan.

The U.N. visit comes as Afghanistan has faced record levels of violence. U.S. officials have said their forces have seen a 30 percent increase in attacks this year compared with 2007.

More than 5,500 people — mostly militants — have been killed in insurgency-related violence this year according to an Associated Press tally of figures provided by Afghan and Western officials.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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