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Karzai in Pak to discuss Taliban's new Afghan role

June 10, 2011 17:27 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in Islamabad on Friday on a two-day visit during which he will hold talks with Pakistan's leadership to boost the reconciliation process with the Taliban in the war-ravaged country.

During Karzai's visit -- his second to Pakistan in the last months -- the two countries will formally launch a Joint

Commission on Reconciliation, Afghan Ambassador Omar Daudzai said.

The commission will carry forward the reconciliation process following the withdrawal of US and foreign troops from Afghanistan.

Karzai will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, officials said.

The Afghan president was accompanied by a delegation that included High Peace Council Chairman Burhanuddin Rabbani, Foreign Minister Zalmai Rasool, Defence Minister Abdur Rahim Wardag, Interior Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammedi, National Intelligence Chief Rehmatullah Nabeel and army chief Gen Sher Muhammad Karimi.

Afghan envoy Daudzai said Pakistani and Afghan leaders will co-chair the Joint Commission on Reconciliation to formally mark the beginning of work by the peace body.

He said a mini-joint commission may also be formed to step up reconciliation efforts.

One of the objectives of the commission would be to pave the way for talks with the Taliban and other anti government groups to end the war in Afghanistan.

Both sides will discuss modalities about the working of the commission, Daudzai said.

The decision to form the commission was announced when Prime Minister Gilani travelled to Kabul in April.

Pakistani and Afghan leaders will also formally launch a bilateral transit trade agreement, which was finalised by officials of the two countries in Kabul last month after some amendments.

Sources said Pakistan is expected to raise the issue of three recent attacks in its territory by militants from the Afghan side.

Pakistan has already conveyed its concern over these incursions to the Afghan ambassador and US and NATO officials.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have increased contacts in recent weeks in view of US plans to begin the phased withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan beginning next month.

It is believed that Pakistan has received assurances from major Western powers that its concerns in Afghanistan would be addressed ahead of the troop drawdown.

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