Afghan, Pak, US to discuss peace process

Islamabad: The top officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan and the US will meet here next week to push for peace and reconciliation process in the region, Pakistan Foreign Ministry said on Saturday.

US Special Representative Marc Grossman, Afghanistan's Deputy Foreign Minister Jawid Lodin and Pakistan Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir, along with the representatives of Military and Intelligence of the three countries will participate in the meeting, a Foreign Ministry statement said.

The Core Group has been established to promote the process of reconciliation and peace in Afghanistan.

Sources said the meeting on August 2 is likely to discuss the recent tension along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Pakistani military says that Pakistani militants have established bases in border regions of Afghanistan and launch attacks on Pakistani border posts and villages.

Afghan officials say Pakistani forces have fired hundreds of rockets and artillery shells into Afghanistan and killed dozens civilians.

The trilateral meeting is taking place at a time when the US has started phased withdrawal of its troops from Afghanistan. Several other NATO member countries have also announced gradual withdrawal of their forces and the process will be completed by 2014.

NATO forces have already transferred security responsibility to Afghan forces in five areas.

Meanwhile, Taliban militants have stepped up attacks on foreign and Afghan forces and government officials in recent days.

Taliban had claimed responsibility for the killing of the brother of Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who was shot dead by his guard in Kandhar this month.

Bureau Report