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Afghan peace council to visit Pakistan

KABUL: A senior official in the peace council set up by Afghanistan’s president to try to end the nearly decade-old Taliban insurgency will visit Pakistan for talks with its president and prime minister.

President Karzai and Pakistan's PM GilaniAtaullah Ludin, deputy chairman of the 70-member High Peace Council, said Sunday a delegation would visit Islamabad to discuss its efforts to initiate talks with the Taliban.

He said 15 members of the council would travel to Pakistan on Tuesday.

“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.

President Hamid Karzai has made reconciliation a top priority and formed the council to try and find a political solution to the insurgency. At the same time, the US-led coalition ramped up its military campaign in an effort to pound Taliban commanders to the negotiating table.

Most of the Taliban leadership, including Mullah Mohammad Omar, are believed to be living in Pakistan’s tribal areas. – AP

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