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02 October 2023

Afghan, Pakistan leaders meet for second day

Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari, left, and Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai talk at the presidential palace in Kabul. (REUTERS)


The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan were set to hold fresh talks on Wednesday after pledging to work together to fight terrorism and extremism along their common border, a Pakistani diplomat said.

Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai and Pakistan's Asif Ali Zardari were to hold "a breakfast meeting and one-and-one talks", Pakistani embassy spokesman Naeem Khan told AFP.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi was to hold a press conference before Zardari's delegation heads back to Islamabad, he said.

On Tuesday, Karzai and Zardari hailed what the Afghan leader called a "new relationship" between the neighbouring countries and said they would work together and with the international community to combat extremists.

"We intend to work towards a better tomorrow," said Zardari, who was making his first official visit to Afghanistan since taking office last September.

"We want to tell the world today, together, standing shoulder to shoulder, that we are together in this fight against these non-state actors who have taken nations, countries and in fact superpowers to war," he said.

Islamabad and Kabul have been unable to rein in the extremists that have been holed up in Pakistan's lawless tribal areas since they fled Afghanistan after the US-led invasion that drove out the Taliban government in late 2001.

The rugged border belt is a key battleground in the US-led "war on terror" with Taliban and Al Qaeda militants operating bases in Pakistan from which they are said to send fighters to carry out attacks, including in Afghanistan.