June 11 - Pakistan pledged on Saturday to help Afghanistan end a 10-year Taliban insurgency. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani hosts Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Islamabad where the two leaders pledge common cause in fighting a Taliban insurgency. Representatives from both governments held their first meeting of a joint commission on reconciliation, set up by the two countries, to make peace with the Taliban. Pakistan pledged to help Afghanistan end the 10-year Taliban insurgency, as their mutual ally the United States prepares to start a gradual troop withdrawal. Pakistan has historically maintained close contacts with the Afghan Taliban and is seen as an important player that can push insurgent groups to the negotiating table. Later at a news conference the Pakistani Prime Minister offered his full support. SOUNDBITE: Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, saying (English): "Our only aim is to support the peace process which is Afghan-led and it is the Afghan process for reconciliation. Pakistan is ready to support whatever the support they want, and we are ready to support them. It is in the interest of Pakistan for a stable, peaceful, prosperous, independent and sovereign Afghanistan." Pakistan has made similar pledges before, but mutual mistrust has hampered ties between the neighbors. Both Afghanistan and the United States say Pakistan is not doing enough to prevent militants from crossing the border to attack American-led NATO troops and Afghan security forces. This summer foreign forces will hand security control in parts of Afghanistan to Afghan forces, with the aim of pulling all foreign forces out of Afghanistan by the end of 2014. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters