Zardari to attend trilateral summit in Turkey



Islamabad: Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will visit Turkey during December 11-13 to attend a trilateral summit with his Afghan and Turkish counterparts that will focus on security cooperation and efforts to usher in peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

The trilateral summit is being projected as a platform for furthering high level-political dialogue, security cooperation and the partnership between the three "brotherly countries" for bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan and the region.

However, a war of words between Pakistan and Afghanistan over a Taliban suicide attack on the Afghan spy chief has cast a cloud over the upcoming summit. President Hamid Karzai today alleged that the suicide bombing that injured his spy chief Assadullah Khalid was planned in Pakistan.

Karzai said Afghan officials were certain the suicide bomber came from Pakistan. Pakistan's Foreign Office responded to Karzai's accusation by saying that the Afghan government should share any information it has to back up the allegation.

The Foreign Office spokesman further said the Afghan government should order "an investigation into any lapses in the security arrangements around the" spy chief.

The Afghan spy chief was attacked in Kabul on Thursday by a suicide bomber posing as a peace envoy.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey recently began working together to push forward the troubled peace process in Afghanistan.

However, the three countries have not been able to make much headway in these efforts.

Zardari will be accompanied to Turkey by a delegation that will include Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and high ranking military and civil officials.

The summit will also focus on the theme of connectivity and strengthening economic and commercial cooperation through improving existing and developing new rail and road links.

PTI