Pakistan`s President to visit Kabul as tensions simmer
Islamabad: Pakistani President Mamnoon Hussain will visit Kabul on Thursday to participate in the Nawroz festival, his first visit to Afghanistan since taking office in September, Pakistan`s Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The one-day visit comes after the Afghan government hinted that Pakistani intelligence may have played a role in deadly attacks in Kabul last week - a suggestion Pakistan vehemently denied.
Nawroz, the Persian New Year, is a major holiday in Afghanistan.
"At the invitation of President Hamid Karzai, President Mamnoon Hussain will be visiting Afghanistan on 27 March 2014 to participate in the Nawroz Festival," said a statement by the foreign ministry.
Pakistan is seen as crucial to securing peace in neighbouring Afghanistan as it was a key backer of the hardline 1996-2001 Taliban regime in Kabul and is believed still to shelter some of the movement`s leaders.
Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Kabul in November last year for talks with President Karzai on the future of the peace process and bilateral relations between the two Muslim neighbours.
"The President`s visit is part of the efforts to strengthen bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all dimensions and support efforts for durable peace, stability and prosperity in the region," the ministry said.
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