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Talks resume for Pakistan, Afghanistan

Latest update : 2008-08-03

Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to resume talks previously boycotted by the Kabul government, after Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilana held discussions on the sidelines of the SAARC summit in Colombo.

KABUL, Aug 3 (Reuters) - Afghanistan accepted Pakistan's
offer on Sunday to resume talks which the Kabul government had
boycotted after accusing its neighbour of being behind a series
of attacks.
 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister
Yousaf Raza Gilani talked on the sidelines of regional summit in
Colombo on Sunday, their first meeting since July 15.
 

"At the suggestion of Pakistan, the Afghan side agreed to
re-engage on all bilateral and multilateral forums," a
presidential palace statement said.
 

They agreed the two governments needed to develop a common
strategy to overcome the threat of terrorism and extremism. The
two foreign ministers will meet soon, it said.
 

Afghanistan and Pakistan are both important U.S. allies but
their relations have for decades been dogged by a dispute over
their border. Recently, Kabul has accused Pakistan of
involvement in violence in Afghanistan, where the Taliban and al
Qaeda militants routinely attack foreign and Afghan forces.
 

 More than 15,000 people, including about 460 foreign
troops, have been killed in Afghanistan since 2006 when the
ousted Taliban relaunched their insurgency.
 

Afghanistan says Pakistan harbours the militants and Karzai
last month said directly that Pakistani agents were behind the
recent violence, including the suicide attack on the Indian
embassy in Kabul on July 7th which killed 58 people.
 

India has blamed Pakistan's intelligence agency for the
attack on its mission -- a charge denied by Pakistan.
 

Islamabad backed the Taliban in Afghanistan through the
1990s but officially cut support after the Sept. 11, 2001,
attacks on the United States.
 

Hundreds of Pakistani soldiers have been killed trying to
dislodge al Qaeda and Taliban fighters from enclaves on the
Afghan border. The militants have been responsible for many bomb
attacks on Pakistani security forces.
 

Despite that, Pakistan has never been able to dispel
suspicion that for various reasons, it is at least turning a
blind eye to help going to the Taliban in Afghanistan.
 

Date created : 2008-08-03

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