Afghanistan-Pakistan Peace Commission Meets

Posted June 11th, 2011 at 6:45 am (UTC-5)
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Afghanistan and Pakistan on Saturday held a joint peace commission meeting to discuss ways to bring peace to the violence-wracked region.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai participated in the meeting in Islamabad where they pledged to strengthen ties between the two countries.

Outgoing U.S. CIA chief Leon Panetta, who is set to be the next defense secretary, is in Pakistan on an unannounced visit, but it was not immediately clear if he attended Saturday's meeting.

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad are often shrouded in distrust over the violence plaguing both countries.

Mr. Karzai arrived in Islamabad Friday for a meeting with his counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari. Following talks, both presidents told reporters that Afghanistan-Pakistan relations remain strong, with both countries sharing the common goal of peace and prosperity.

President Karzai's visit to Pakistan 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.

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

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