US briefs President Karzai on Kerry’s Pakistan visit

    By IANS,

    Kabul : US special AfPak envoy James Dobbins Friday apprised Afghan President Hamid Karzai about US Secretary of State John Kerry’s maiden visit to Islamabad.

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    Dobbins, who had accompanied Kerry during Pakistan tour Thursday, briefed Karzai about the outcome of US secretary’s meetings with Pakistani leaders, Xinhua reported, quoting a Presidential Palace statement.

    Kerry arrived in Pakistan Wednesday night and held meetings with leaders Thursday.

    It was the first visit by a US secretary of state to Pakistan since October 2011 when the then incumbent, Hillary Clinton, urged Islamabad to dismantle the safe havens for Afghan militants and encourage the Taliban to enggage in peace talks to end the war in Afghanistan.

    The talks had been stalled after 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed by the US on the Afghan border in 2011.

    On Friday, Dobbins also discussed Afghan-US relations with Karzai and the prevailing situation in Afghanistan, the statement added.

    Karzai, who is also expected to visit Pakistan, said that he hoped his “coming visit to Pakistan would lead to enhancing bilateral relations between the two neighbouring countries and accelerating peace process in Afghanistan”.

    The Afghan president is to visit Pakistan on the invitation of Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, though the date is yet to be announced.

    Officials in Kabul believe Pakistan can influence Taliban to hold direct talks with the Afghan government and help end the lingering crisis in Afghanistan.

    Taliban militants, however, have refused to hold talks with the Afghan administration, arguing that their opponents in the war is the US and they want to negotiate with the US administration.