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US, Pak to encourage Taliban for peace talks

Last Updated: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 15:51

Washington: The United States and Pakistan are planning a joint effort to draw the Taliban toward peace talks in Afghanistan.

A joint commission, ``action group``, would help vet candidates for political rehabilitation, with a goal of helping Afghanistan frame a workable peace deal after U.S. and foreign forces leave the country, reports the News Agencies.

The planned joint vetting was among the main focuses of a meeting last week between senior U.S. officials and President Asif Zardari, official sources said.

"Whatever you call it, the roadmap... will have many aspects to determine who is reconcilable and who is not, how to then move once you determine they are reconcilable, (and) what should be on the table and what should not be on the table," a senior Pakistani official said.

"It would look at who is reconcilable and who is not," a U.S. official said.

The U.S.-Pak vetting operation would be part of larger cooperation taking place among Afghanistan, Pakistan and the U.S. despite crosscutting tensions among all three nations.

The cooperation comes amid street protests in Pakistan sparked by the anti-Islam film, and after two-years of strenuous U.S.-Pak relations. Economic, political and military cooperation between the two countries has been scaled back.

Pakistan``s participation in the Taliban effort is a recognition that some political deal to end the Taliban``s 11-year insurgency is likely, or at least possible, after the bulk of foreign forces in the country in 2014, officials said.

First Published: Sunday, September 23, 2012 - 15:51
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