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Pakistan PM to discuss Afghan peace in Qatar


Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will discuss peace efforts for war-torn Afghanistan with Qatar's leadership during an official visit next week, an official said on Saturday.

"Yes the reconciliation process in Afghanistan would come under discussion during the talks with Qatar's leadership," a senior Pakistan government official told AFP.

Pakistan's foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment.

The Taliban, ousted from power by a US-led invasion in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, announced last month they planned to set up a political office in Qatar ahead of possible talks with the United States.

Afghanistan has given its blessing to the move, but Kabul, wary of being sidelined in talks between the insurgents and Washington, has insisted on a central role in any negotiations.

Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan are often tense. The Kabul government has accused Islamabad in the past of supporting the Taliban and sabotaging all efforts to launch peace negotiations.

Pakistan's support is therefore seen as key to forging peace in the country.

On Wednesday, Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar during a visit to Kabul rejected accusations that her country was secretly supporting Taliban in Afghanistan.

The Taliban also denied plans for peace talks with the Afghan government in Saudi Arabia.

The statements came as a leaked NATO report charged that Pakistan's security services were backing the Taliban militia, who consider victory inevitable once Western combat troops leave in 2014.