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Karzai to visit Pak; release of Taliban leader on agenda

August 25, 2013 15:54 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will arrive in Islamabad on Monday on a one-day trip to discuss the frayed ties with Pakistan and seek release of Taliban leader Mullah Abdul Ghani Barader as a confidence building measure.

Ties between the two countries nosedived after Pakistan and the US supported a Taliban office that opened in Doha in June to foster talks and also over a reported statement by Pakistan's National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz that Kabul should cede some provinces to Taliban for lasting peace.

Aziz reportedly proposed this to Afghan ambassador Umer Duadzai in a meeting in Islamabad in June.

Confirming the visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Chaudhry said the Afghan president would be accompanied by a high-level delegation of cabinet ministers and senior officials.

"This will be the first highest-level exchange between Pakistan and Afghanistan since the democratic transition and swearing-in of the new government," said Chaudhry. "Karzai's visit will carry forward this process of constructive engagement between the two countries."

Sharif has set out an agenda of improving ties with all neighbours and he spoke at least thrice to Karazi since taking office in June.

The two leaders will have in-depth consultations on all issues of common interest, including the evolving situation in the region as well as ways to deepen and broaden Pakistan.

Chaudhry said peace and stability in Afghanistan are in Pakistan's vital interest and his country has extended consistent support for the promotion of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

"Pakistan remains committed to working with Afghanistan as well as regional and international partners for sustainable peace and development," he said.

Sajjad Hussain in Islamabad
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