Afghanistan, Pakistan to step up anti-Taliban fight

A conference aimed at reinforcing cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan in the battle against Taliban militants has opened in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hikmat Khalil Karzai told the conference on Tuesday that a united response was needed to deal with the menace of terrorism which has been sweeping the troubled region.

“The wave of terrorist activities, including those of Daesh in various parts of the region and the world, once again reminds us of the gravity of this menace confronting today’s humanity and the urgency for a united position against this evil phenomenon,” he said.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is also expected to attend the second day of the conference on Wednesday.

The two-day meeting, dubbed “Heart of Asia,” will  seek ways to boost coordination on a range of issues between the two countries. Cooperation between Kabul and Islamabad is seen as essential for tackling Taliban militants who are wreaking havoc across the volatile region.

The meeting will also discuss ways to resume stalled peace talks with Taliban militants. Islamabad said in a statement recently that Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ghani had agreed to work to resume talks with Taliban.

Pakistan hosted a first round of peace talks between Taliban and Afghan leaders back in July. The talks stalled after the militants belatedly announced the death of their longtime leader Mullah Omar.


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