Improving relations


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The troubled relations which exist between Pakistan and Afghanistan will be addressed in a meeting between the two countries presidents this week in the UK.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistan counterpart, Nawaz Sharif, will meet to discuss a number of issues which has seen the countries split on opinion in recent years.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President, Nawaz Sharif, will hold talks in the UK.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President, Nawaz Sharif, will hold talks in the UK.

President Karzai will be visiting Britain for five days with the UK government reportedly seeking assurances from the country’s leader before the elections in April, where he must step down.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron began formulating the three-way meeting in July 2012 when he was in Kabul at the same time as the Pakistani counterpart.

Afghanistan officials have pointed the finger of blame at their Asian neighbours in the past in regard to the increase of violence in the country, blaming Taliban safe havens.

Elements of Pakistan's intelligence service have long been accused of backing the Afghan Taliban and giving them refuge on Pakistani soil - something Islamabad strongly denies.

Pakistan PresidentMr Karzai has said he wants the Pakistani government ‘to facilitate peace talks’ with the Taliban, over whom - he says - Pakistan has a high degree of influence.

Mr Karzai has a number of controversial requests he hopes to put forward including the release of several high-profile Taliban prisoners, held in Pakistan, in hope that it will help open talks with the rebel members. Likewise, Afghanistan wants to know the whereabouts of the former Taliban military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

Pakistan officials say Baradar was released from custody last month, but has not been seen in public since leading to questions about the former commander’s location.

On Sunday, Mr Karzai's spokesman said ‘Afghanistan believes that the new Pakistani leader Nawaz Sharif has "good intentions" for co-operation’.

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