Afghan President in Pakistan for Talks on Taliban

Posted June 10th, 2011 at 11:10 am (UTC-5)
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai has arrived in Pakistan for talks that are expected to focus on what role Islamabad can play as the Afghan government tries to broker peace with the Taliban.

President Karzai's visit is the first since al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2.

The Afghan leader met with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad on Friday. A joint peace commission is also scheduled to meet during Mr. Karzai's two-day visit.

Ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been hampered by mistrust. President Karzai has repeatedly called for Pakistan to do more to fight militants in the border region who launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. And Mr. Karzai has said bin Laden's killing in Pakistan showed that the war against terrorism should focus on Islamabad and not Kabul.

The United States has urged Pakistan to play a productive role in Afghanistan's reconciliation process with the Taliban.

Pakistan was one of only three countries that recognized Afghanistan's Taliban-led government in the 1990's. And some members of Pakistan's intelligence services are thought to maintain links with the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan.

The head of Afghanistan's peace council, former President Burhanuddin Rabani, is part of Mr. Karzai's delegation to Pakistan. Mr. Rabani on Friday discussed Afghan reconciliation efforts with pro-Taliban cleric Fazlur Rehman, who heads a prominent Islamic party in Pakistan.