Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to launch a joint investigation into the attempted assassination of the Afghan spy chief last week.

Kabul and Islamabad's announcement on Wednesday comes on the second day of trilateral talks in Ankara, the Turkish capital.

"A joint working group comprising relevant agencies of Afghanistan and Pakistan will address the recent attack on the
National Security Director of Afghanistan," a statement issued by all three nations read.

Leaders of both countries, accompanied by ministers and their army chiefs, met at the Turkish-hosted trilateral summit only days after the head of Afghanistan's intelligence agency was wounded by a suicide bomber in the Afghan capital.

A suicide bomber, posing as a peace messenger, hid explosives hidden inside his underwear for the attack that wounded Asadullah Khalid, head of the National Directorate of Security, last Thursday.

Shortly after the attack, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, who rushed to the newly-appointed spy chief's bedside following the December 6 attempt on Khalid's life, said he knew "for a fact" the bomber came from the Pakistani city Quetta.

Karzai said Kabul would seek "clarification" from Islamabad during the meetings in Turkey.

Strained relations

For its part, Islamabad urged Karzai to provide evidence before "levelling charges", and suggested Kabul look into any
lapses in its own security plans that may have facilitated the attack.

Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari, his Pakistani counterpart put up a united front on Wednesday, but both leaders were scant on details of their talks over the attack.

The Kabul government often blames "foreign spy agencies" for attacks in the Central Asian nation.

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Asked whether he had received the clarification he had wanted before the meeting, Karzai said: "We had very good
conversations and we are not going to divulge details."

Zardari declined to comment specifically on Karzai's allegations but said: "It is in the interest of Pakistan that
Afghanistan prospers".

Speaking to the Reuters news agency following the summit, Hina Rabbani Khar, Pakistani foreign minister, said Karzai had assured Islamabad he had not specifically accused Pakistan.

"President Karzai told us that he made no specific remark which was specific to Pakistan ... because it would be obviously quite undeserved if any such remark was made," Khar said.

Both countries needed to have systems in place to protect people from such attacks, Khar said, and that there should be "no question of making allegations on anyone".

Ties between Kabul and Islamabad have been strained by cross-border raids into Afghanistan's eastern provinces and accusations that Pakistan's intelligence agency backs the armed opposition in Afghanistan to advance its own interests in the country.

Pakistan denies the accusations.

Source: Agencies