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US plans regular Pakistan, Afghanistan talks

Senior US, Afghan and Pakistani officials ended three days of talks Thursday on the next steps in the war against Islamic extremists, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the three-way format was so fruitful it would be used regularly in the months ahead.

  • Agencies
  • Published: 08:05 February 27, 2009
  • Gulf News

Washington: Senior US, Afghan and Pakistani officials ended three days of talks Thursday on the next steps in the war against Islamic extremists, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the three-way format was so fruitful it would be used regularly in the months ahead.

Clinton told reporters that the next meeting of US Afghan and Pakistani government delegations would be in late April or early May.

This week's talks produced no known breakthroughs, but Clinton said they were in-depth and forthright. They were designed to gather suggestions and ideas from the Pakistanis and Afghans as the administration reviews its approach to the war, which has turned more problematic over the past few years.

In addition to her Afghan and Pakistani counterparts, Clinton was joined in the talks by Richard Holbrooke, the administration's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in the region.

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta spoke to reporters after meeting separately with Clinton at the State Department.

"I can ensure you Afghanistan is committed with you to address the menace of terrorism and to work together, closely together, on democratization of Afghanistan and its stability," Spanta said.

Later, after meeting jointly with Spanta and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other members of their delegations, Clinton underlined the significance of having the Afghan and Pakistani delegations together for candid talks.

"The representatives from both the civilian and military sectors of both governments have been not only forthcoming, but very receptive, listening one to the other," she told reporters.

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