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Afghanistan to press Pakistan for access to Taliban

KABUL - Afghanistan will press Pakistan for access to Taliban leaders during a one-day visit to Kabul by Pakistan's foreign minister, with Afghan officials hoping to ease cross-border strains and lay the ground for peace negotiations with the insurgents.
Hina Rabbani Khar will visit Kabul on February 1 to discuss reconciliation and nascent plans for peace talks ahead of a meeting between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban in Saudi Arabia in coming weeks.
Khar's trip will mark the first high-level meetings between officials from the countries in months.
Pakistan is seen as critical to US efforts to stabilize Afghanistan before foreign combat troops leave in 2014.
"We hope it will mark a new phase in the relationship between both countries," Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai said on Monday.
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