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Afghan, Pakistani presidents meet for security talks

The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan met on Monday for talks on closer cooperation against the Taliban, after the NATO commander in the war against the militants said he wanted a negotiated peace.

world Updated: Jan 25, 2010 23:17 IST

The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan met on Monday for talks on closer cooperation against the Taliban, after the NATO commander in the war against the militants said he wanted a negotiated peace.

The meeting between Afghanistan's leader Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan is the fourth round of
fence-mending talks since 2007 to be held under Turkish auspices.

It comes just days before a major conference in London aimed at promoting Afghanistan's development, at which Karzai will unveil a plan to pay off the insurgents.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul, hosting the summit in Istanbul, met Karzai and Zardari separately earlier today.

The meeting is also being attended by military and intelligence chiefs from Afghanistan and Pakistan. A joint
declaration is expected to be issued at its conclusion.

Relations between Kabul and Islamabad have become increasingly strained as extremists who fled the US-led ouster
of Afghanistan's Taliban regime in late 2001 found a safe haven in Pakistan's northwestern tribal regions.

Afghanistan claims much of its insurgent violence, including attacks on US and NATO soldiers, is planned in
Pakistan and has accused its neighbour of not doing enough to curb the militants.