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Pakistan, Afghanistan begin talks about dealing with insurgents

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Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung
Washington Post
June 19, 2010

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Afghanistan and Pakistan are talking about how to make peace with insurgents fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan, including one faction considered the coalition forces’ most lethal foe, according to Pakistani and U.S. officials.

The discussions reflect the beginnings of a thaw in relations between Kabul and Islamabad, which are increasingly focused on shaping the aftermath of what they fear could be a more abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops than is now anticipated. But one element of the effort — outreach by Pakistan to the militia headed by the young commander Sirajuddin Haqqani — faces opposition from U.S. officials, who consider the al-Qaeda-linked group too brutal to be tolerated.

At Pakistan’s suggestion, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the chief of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, made an unprecedented trip last month to Kabul to discuss with Afghan President Hamid Karzai a wide range of possible cooperation, including mediating with Pakistan-based insurgents.

Several weeks ago, Pasha and Pakistan’s army chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani, returned to continue the discussion. There is no agreement between the two nations, but a Pakistani security official said the outreach to insurgents is “not a problem.”

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This article was posted: Saturday, June 19, 2010 at 4:06 am





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