Afghan peace council to visit Pakistan

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
January 2, 2011 13:05

 
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KABUL, Afghanistan  — Afghanistan's high peace council will hold talks with Pakistan's leadership as part of an effort to find a diplomatic solution to the nearly decade-old Taliban insurgency, its deputy chairman said Sunday.

Ataullah Ludin, deputy chairman of the 70-member High Peace Council, said a delegation will visit Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss the group's efforts to initiate talks with the Taliban. The delegation of 15 people will meet with Pakistan's president, its prime minister and other senior officials.

Pakistan is a key player in the Afghan conflict and any military or diplomatic solution hinges on Islamabad's willingness to help either broker peace, or assist in wiping out an insurgency that is mostly being launched from its territory.

"We are very optimistic. It is clear that Pakistan and Afghanistan are the victims of terrorism, and both countries have their own problems. It's also clear to us that both countries need to work together to solve those problems. We are very optimistic that we will come back with good achievements," Ludin said.

Led by former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, the council has made little headway since it was formed last October.

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