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Pak PM Ashraf in Afghanistan on peace agenda

July 19, 2012 13:37 IST

Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Thursday left for a day-long visit to Kabul, where he will participate in a trilateral meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and British premier David Cameron to discuss the peace process in Afghanistan.

Ashraf, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik, said he would raise the issue of cross-border attacks from Afghanistan on Pakistan with the Afghan leadership.

Talking to the media before his departure at Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi‚ Ashraf described his visit as "very important".

He said the world community respects Pakistan's sacrifices in the war on terrorism, which the country is fighting with "full fortitude".

Ashraf said his interactions in Kabul will be aimed at promoting bilateral relations and ending the war on terror.

Pakistan had rendered the maximum sacrifices for peace in Afghanistan, he added.

The premier said his talks with Karzai and Cameron will focus on security and peace in Afghanistan.

Pakistani officials said Ashraf is expected to tell the Afghan leadership that Pakistan supports talks with the Afghan Taliban but the outcome should not adversely affect Pakistan.

A recent spurt in cross-border attacks from Afghanistan has become an irritant in bilateral ties, the officials said.

Taliban fighters from Swat in northwest Pakistan, who have taken refuge in Afghanistan, have been blamed for most of the cross-border attacks.

In one recent attack, the Taliban fighters captured and beheaded 17 Pakistani soldiers.

On Wednesday, troops killed six militants as they tried to cross from Afghanistan into Chitral area of northern Pakistan.

Ashraf is visiting Afghanistan at the invitation of Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

This is his second foreign visit since he became premier last month.

Ashraf made a two-day visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this week.

The premier is scheduled to hold meetings with Afghan High Peace Council chairman Salahuddin Rabbani and leaders of the Afghan National Front and Truth and Justice Party.

Ashraf will also inaugurate the new complex of the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul.

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