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KARZAI: HUNT FOR BIN LADEN STALLED

Afghanistan president meeting with Bush.

In the hunt for Osama bin Laden, the United States and its allies have essentially gotten nowhere lately, says Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

"We are not closer, we are not further away from it," Karzai said ahead of his two-day summit with President Bush at Camp David, Md. "We are where we were a few years ago."

Karzai ruled out that bin Laden was in Afghanistan, but otherwise said he didn't know where the leader of the al-Qaida terror network was likely hiding. Karzai's comments, in an interview on CNN's Late Edition, were taped Friday in Kabul and broadcast Sunday.

Karzai arrived Sunday at Bush's Catoctin Mountain Park retreat. The Afghan leader's visit comes as he faces competing troubles at home - civilian killings, surging opium production and steady violence.

Despite its progress since U.S.-led forces toppled the militant Taliban regime in 2001, Afghanistan still is dominated by poverty and lawlessness.

"The security situation in Afghanistan over the past two years has definitely deteriorated," Karzai said in the interview. "There is no doubt about that."

Bush and Karzai are also likely to discuss Afghanistan's distrustful relationship with neighboring Pakistan. Karzai said the flow of foreign fighters from Pakistan into his country is a concern he will address soon with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. The two are expected to meet this month in Kabul.

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