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Central & South Asia

Afghan president to visit Pakistan

Hamid Karzai's trip is aimed at easing tensions and enlist support of new Pakistani government in fight against Taliban.

Last Modified: 28 Jul 2013 23:07
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The last high-level talks between the neighbouring countries took place in July 2012 [EPA]

Afghanistan's president will make his first visit to Pakistan in more than a year in an effort to mend strained relations between the two countries.

Hamid Karzai is making the visit in the hopes that he can enlist the support of the new Pakistani government to help end the nearly 12-year Afghan war, an official said on Sunday.

Former Afghan spy chief hits out at US

The two nations have had tense ties for years, and Afghanistan has accused Pakistan in the past of supporting the Taliban in the movement's fight against the Afghan government.

The election two months ago of a new prime minister in Pakistan has raised hopes in Kabul that Islamabad will be more open to helping start peace talks with the Taliban.

Pakistan is seen as a key player in the Afghan peace process, and the United States has been trying to enlist its support to help coax the Taliban into peace talks.

'Strengthen co-operation'

Afghanistan's government recently said that Pakistan had floated the idea of a power-sharing deal with the Taliban, while Karzai's chief of staff went so far as to suggest that a recently opened Taliban office in the Gulf state of Qatar was a plot by Pakistan or the US to break up the country.

Karzai's government has in the past rejected sharing power with the Taliban.

Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai told reporters that Karzai had accepted an invitation delivered by Pakistan one week ago and that a date for the visit would soon be set.

"Afghanistan in the past 10 years very honestly tried to strengthen co-operation and relations with Pakistan," Mosazai said.

"Afghanistan tried to establish a trust building effort between both countries, unfortunately we didn't get what we expected from the former governments of Pakistan, so we are hopeful that with the establishment of the new government under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif we will be able to open a new page between both countries."

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