Afghan peace delegation to visit Pakistan

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Kabul, Jan 2 (ANI): The Afghanistan Government's efforts to broker peace with the Taliban enter a new phase, as an Afghan delegation is scheduled to visit Islamabad this week.

Former Afghanistan President Burhanuddin Rabbani is set to lead a delegation from President Hamid Karzai's High Council for Peace, which is in talks with Pakistan officials.

"There will be talks with all stakeholders about bringing peace to Afghanistan," Geo News quoted Rabbani's deputy Ataullah Ludin, as saying.

"This trip is the beginning. We cannot talk about the result now, however, we are optimistic for all peace efforts," he added.

Ludin revealed that the group would also meet Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but did not disclose which day the visit starts.

The move comes at the start of a crucial year for Afghanistan, when limited international troop withdrawals are expected to start in July, before a planned handover of responsibility for security to Afghan troops in 2014.

But some international diplomats and commanders are convinced that the plan can only succeed if there are meaningful talks with the Taliban, and Pakistan's role is seen as crucial in the process. (ANI)

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