Clinton satisfied with Afghan-Pakistani talks

February 27th, 2009 - 5:24 am ICT by IANS  

TalibanWashington, Feb 27 (DPA) US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton Thursday wrapped up three days of meetings with Afghan and Pakistani officials aimed at coordinating efforts to stomp out Taliban activity along the two countries’ borders.
Clinton held a three-way meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta Thursday as part of the Obama administration’s review of the situation in Afghanistan and to ensure that the three countries could exchange views.

“That goal has been amply fulfilled,” Clinton said after the meeting.

As part of President Barack Obama’s strategic review of the conflict in Afghanistan, Washington is seeking ways to improve cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad. Taliban militants and Al Qaeda have used so-called safe havens in Pakistan’s remote tribal areas to launch attacks in Afghanistan.

The problem has generated tension between the two countries, with Afghanistan accusing Pakistan of not doing enough to pressure the militants. Washington has also been frustrated by the fact that the Taliban have found refuge in Pakistan.

US unmanned aircraft strikes in Pakistani territory have angered Pakistan, which sees them as a violation of its sovereignty. Qureshi, who met separately with Clinton Tuesday, said his country is committed to working with the US to fight terrorism.

“Pakistan is willing to work with the American administration to fight extremism and terrorism,” Qureshi said. Spanta also expressed similar sentiment after a one-on-one meeting with Clinton Thursday.

Clinton said the three countries will meet again sometime in April or May.

Obama has identified Afghanistan as a top foreign policy priority as the country slides deeper towards destabilisation and copes with sharply rising violence attributed to the resurgent Taliban. Obama has already announced that 17,000 additional troops will deploy to Afghanistan this year and plans for more could be in the pipeline.

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