Karzai, US Urge Pakistan to Attend Bonn Conference

Posted November 29th, 2011 at 6:20 pm (UTC-5)
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai is urging Pakistan to change its mind about boycotting next week's international conference on his country's future.

Mr. Karzai called Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, asking him not to turn his back on next Monday's meeting in Bonn, Germany. The Afghan leader also extended his condolences for the losses Pakistan suffered in NATO airstrikes last week.

Pakistani officials say they will not participate in the Bonn conference as a protest against the airstrikes, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers near the Afghan border Saturday.

The White House is also urging Pakistan to reconsider. It calls the Bonn talks very important for the future of Afghanistan and says Pakistan obviously will play a very important role.

Pakistani military officials say they believe NATO launched the airstrikes intentionally. General Ashfaq Nadeem also questioned whether Pakistan would participate in Washington's investigation into the airstrikes.

The Associated Press quotes U.S. officials as saying investigators believe the Taliban attacked a U.S.-Afghan patrol in the border region to create confusion and draw U.S. and Pakistani forces into firing on each other.

The Bonn conference is aimed at developing a strategy to stabilize Afghanistan as coalition forces withdraw in the coming years. Many analysts agree that peace in Afghanistan hinges on whether Pakistan plays a constructive role in the process.