Afghan leader to push for access to Taliban in Pakistan

By REUTERS
February 14, 2012 16:43

 
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KABUL - Afghan President Hamid Karzai will press Pakistan to provide access to senior Afghan Taliban leaders when he visits Islamabad this week in a bid to advance a nascent peace process with the militant group, senior Afghan officials said on Tuesday.

Pakistan is seen as critical to efforts to reach a settlement to Afghanistan's conflict, now in its eleventh year, and is believed to have influence over Afghan insurgent groups.

"We hope that Pakistan will arrange a purposeful meeting between us and so that we find a solution to our own problems," said one Afghan official, emphasizing hopes of direct talks with Taliban leaders belonging so the so-called Quetta Shura, named after the Pakistani city where it is said to be based.

"Pakistan has paid little attention to our concerns and the level is cooperation has not been sincere or honest so far."

Pakistan has consistently denied giving sanctuary to insurgents and denies the existence of any Quetta Shura, or leadership council.

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