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Karzai sets condition for Pak visit

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday gave a lukewarm response to Pakistan’s invitation to visit Islamabad, setting conditions for any high-level talks designed to mend increasingly frosty relations.

world Updated: Jul 23, 2013 01:32 IST

Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Monday gave a lukewarm response to Pakistan’s invitation to visit Islamabad, setting conditions for any high-level talks designed to mend increasingly frosty relations.

At least seven people were killed here in the capital as supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi clashed with police, taking the death toll to over 100 in continuing violence since the army ousted the Islamist leader.

Pakistan on Sunday had sent its top diplomat to offer further assistance to Afghanistan’s efforts to reach a deal with Taliban insurgents to end 12 years of war.

Foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz held talks with Afghan foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul and met Karzai to deliver in person the invitation from new Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif — already extended twice by telephone.

The president’s office said Karzai accepted the invitation “in principle”. But he said a high-ranking delegation could visit Pakistan only when the agenda is specified, initial preparations have been made and a “serious and effective struggle against terrorism and the peace process are on the top of the agenda”.

The West considers Pakistan’s support vital to achieving lasting peace in Afghanistan. But relations between the neighbours are mired in mutual distrust and accusations over Taliban and other Islamist militancy which plagues both countries.

Minister sacked
Afghanistan’s parliament voted to dismiss one of the country’s top security chiefs by impeaching the interior minister in a potential blow to stability.

Lawmakers said Ghulam Mujtaba Patang had been unable to tackle a worsening security environment in the country.