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HindustanTimes Sun,28 Dec 2014

World

Afghan, Pak leaders eye peace deal in six months
AFP
London, February 05, 2013
First Published: 23:41 IST(5/2/2013)
Last Updated: 23:42 IST(5/2/2013)

The leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan said on Monday they would work to reach a peace deal within six months, while throwing their weight behind moves for the Taliban to open an office in Doha.

Following talks hosted by British PM David Cameron, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari also urged the Islamists to join the reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

But with neither the Taliban nor the US at the talks, and the militants still refusing to talk to Kabul, analysts said the commitment by the three leaders risked being one-sided.

They had a private dinner on Sunday and then full talks on Monday at Cameron’s Chequers country retreat near London, amid growing fears that a civil war could erupt when international troops leave in 2014.

“All sides agreed on the urgency of this work and committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months,” they said in a joint statement

“They supported the opening of an office in Doha for the purpose of negotiations between the Taliban and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan as part of an Afghan-led peace process,” the statement said.

The statement also said the leaders had agreed arrangements to “strengthen coordination” of the release of Taliban detainees from Pakistani custody.


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