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Pakistan, Afghanistan to hold talks on peace
by Staff Writers
Islamabad (AFP) Nov 11, 2012


Islamabad and Kabul will hold three days of talks on achieving peace in Afghanistan this week, Pakistan's foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Relations between the neighbours are often tense and Kabul has accused Pakistan of supporting Taliban Islamists in their 11-year insurgency against the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai.

Pakistan has always rejected the accusations, saying it is committed to fighting the Taliban and is actively targeting militants.

A delegation of Afghanistan's High Peace Council, led by chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, will arrive in Islamabad on Monday, to meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, and to hold talks with the foreign minister and Pakistan's military.

"Mr. Rabbani was invited by foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar to visit Pakistan to hold talks with the relevant authorities with regard to peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan," a foreign ministry statement said.

Similar talks were derailed last year in September with the assassination of Burhanuddin Rabbani, the former head of the High Peace Council, by a suicide bomber who purported to be a Taliban peace envoy.

Afghan officials lashed out at Islamabad over the killing, saying it was planned in Pakistan and carried out by a Pakistani with a bomb in his turban.

Pakistan denied the charges and blamed Afghan refugees living in Pakistan for the murder.

The Afghan government later named Rabbani's son, Salahuddin, as the new chief peace envoy.

Efforts to end the Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan have gained a new urgency with US-led NATO forces due to draw combat troops out of the country by the end of 2014.

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