Obama to host ‘Af-Pak’ talks with Zardari, Karzai

April 22nd, 2009 - 6:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 22 (IANS) President Barack Obama has invited his counterparts from Pakistan and Afghanistan, Asif Ali Zardari and Hamid Karzai, to discuss the “Af-Pak” policy here next month, a media report said Tuesday.
The May 6-7 talks will elevate to summit level a trilateral exchange begun by the administration with senior aides from each government in late February, the Washington Post reported.

Zardari and Karzai will meet Obama separately before the three sit down together, the report quoted officials as saying.

The administration considers cooperation between the two often-estranged governments crucial to the success of its Afghanistan-Pakistan policy.

The Pakistani side of the border between the two countries harbours a growing network of extremist groups, including Al Qaeda and the Taliban, providing sanctuary for militants fighting US and NATO forces in Afghanistan and launching terrorist attacks inside Pakistan too, the report noted.

The new president has emphasised that the two countries should be considered in a single strategic framework. But US officials have made clear, the report said, that their deepest and most immediate concern is Pakistan, where the stability of the civilian government and its ability to withstand the extremist onslaught is increasingly in doubt.

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