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Afghanistan accuses Pakistan of wrecking peace hopes

29 March, 2013

KABUL: The Afghan government on Thursday accused Pakistan of wrecking efforts to end the Taliban's bloody 11-year insurgency, in the latest sign of worsening cross-border relations.

Pakistan, which backed Afghanistan's 1996-2001 Taliban regime, is seen as having a crucial role in negotiating a political settlement with the Islamist extremist leaders who shelter in Pakistan's border districts.

Relations had improved between the countries over recent months, building up to a three-way summit hosted by Britain in February to find an end to the war that US-led troops have waged since 2001.

But President Hamid Karzai's spokesman said that Pakistan had now abandoned the peace process and imposed "impossible" pre-conditions on any further discussions that would encourage the Taliban to lay down their weapons.

"Things were going well up to the trilateral (summit) in Britain, so we were hopeful, but soon it became clear that Pakistan had changed its position and the peace process was no longer its priority," Aimal Faizi told AFP.

"They demanded we cut all ties to (Pakistan's arch-enemy) India, send army officers to Pakistan for training, and sign a strategic partnership."

Faizi described Pakistan's demands as impossible because India was one of Afghanistan's closest allies, and any Afghan officer who was trained in Pakistan would be viewed as a suspected spy when he returned home.

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