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Pakistan's Zardari plays down Afghan poll concerns

* Pakistan president says will attend Karzai’s swearing-in

* Zardari calls for investigation of tanker strike

LONDON, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari played down concerns on Wednesday that the Afghan election had been tainted by fraud and said he would be present if President Hamid Karzai is sworn in for a new term.

In a BBC television interview, Zardari also called for a United Nations investigation into a NATO air strike against hijacked fuel trucks in Afghanistan last Friday which killed more than 50 people.

Afghan election returns on Tuesday put Karzai on course for a first-round victory but a watchdog said it had found clear evidence of fraud and ordered a partial recount.

Asked if the elections would be tainted if Karzai was confirmed as winner, Zardari indicated his support for Karzai.

“I’ll be there to be with him when he is sworn in because he was here when I was sworn in, so that’s my position,” he said.

He said “judgment” was still out on vote-rigging allegations in Afghanistan. “I trust there are enough international monitors there and the Pakistan president does not need to be an extra monitor,” he said.

Pakistan’s foreign minister said before the Aug. 20 election that Pakistan had no favourite among the candidates.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have been uneasy neighbours since Pakistan’s creation in 1947, but greater cooperation between them is seen as a vital part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s strategy against Islamist militancy.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have improved since Zardari became Pakistani president in 2008.

Zardari called for an investigation of last week’s air strike against the fuel trucks in Afghanistan.

“I think there should be an investigation and I’m quite sure the U.N. is already present in Afghanistan and so are other international agencies, so I think they have the mechanism and they’ve done it before (conducted an inquiry),” he said in the interview in Islamabad marking his first year in office.

Karzai said in a newspaper interview this week that the air strike was a major “error of judgement” by German forces, who called in the U.S. warplane.

Zardari denied that Taliban based in Pakistan had free movement across the border with Afghanistan.

Asked when he would move against Pakistan-based Taliban who launched cross-border attacks against British and U.S. troops, Zardari said: “If the world(’s) armies and the world(’s) budgets cannot look after that (Afghan) side of the border, give me more time and give me the resources that I need and we will deliver.”

Defending Pakistan’s efforts to counter militants, Zardari said: “We lost my wife (former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto), we lost our leader, we’ve done more than anybody has done.”

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