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Nations to meet on Afghan future

The US will warn against efforts to destabilise Afghanistan when it joins Pakistan and other key players in Turkey on Wednesday to chart the war-torn nation’s future after Western troops depart.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2011 00:15 IST

The US will warn against efforts to destabilise Afghanistan when it joins Pakistan and other key players in Turkey on Wednesday to chart the war-torn nation’s future after Western troops depart.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar will be among the senior diplomats from 20 countries joining representatives from aid organisations at the talks in Istanbul almost exactly 10 years since the Taliban were driven out of power in Kabul.

The conference is intended to map out Afghanistan’s future with the US-led Nato mission already locked into troop draw-downs that are scheduled to bring all foreign combat troops home by 2014. Selcuk Unal of Turkey’s foreign ministry said delegates would discuss ways of deepening regional cooperation in South Asia.

In particular, Clinton is set to promote her New Silk Road project linking the economies of Afghanistan and Pakistan with other Central and South Asian countries as part of a long-term plan to boost regional peace and stability.

Despite billions of dollars poured into Afghanistan since the coalition forces ousted Taliban from power in 2001, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with half of its 30 million population living below poverty line, according to the United Nations.

And the Taliban’s resilience a decade after it’s toppling was again underlined on Saturday when it killed at least 17 people in a car bomb attack on a Nato convoy in Kabul.

Clinton had said last week that the US was “working with the Afghan government to help them secure commitments from all of their neighbours to respect Afghan sovereignty and territorial integrity and to support Afghan reconciliation”.

Improving ties

The meeting is specifically designed to develop further cooperation and dialogue between Afghanistan and Pak

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to promote her New Silk Road project linking the economies of Afghanistan and Pakistan with other Central and South Asian countries as part of a long-term plan to boost regional peace.