Germany gears up for Afghan meet with Pakistan talks

18th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Germany on Friday welcomed a promise from Pakistan to work "without hidden agendas" in Afghanistan, as it gears up to host a key international conference on the war-torn country.

More than 90 delegations from all over the world will gather in Bonn on December 5, with Afghanistan's neighbours playing a key role.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle arrived in Pakistan this week in preparation for the conference.

"I welcome the clear commitment by Pakistan that it has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan," Westerwelle told a news conference alongside Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar after talks in Islamabad.

"We have to work together because stability in Afghanistan is in our interest and in the interest of the world," he said.

"The commitment of the German government and the international community is crystal clear -- we will not forget Afghanistan and this region," he added.

NATO combat troops are scheduled to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of 2014 and the Afghan government is set to take full responsibility for national security.

The United States and Afghanistan have often accused Pakistan of playing a double game in continuing to support the Afghan Taliban as a means of offsetting the growing power of arch-rival India.

Westerwelle, who also held talks with Pakistan's powerful army chief of staff General Ashfaq Kayani, called for a political solution in Afghanistan, saying his country believes that military engagement alone will not work.

Earlier this year, Der Spiegel magazine said Germany was helping mediate secret, direct talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban although Western diplomats in Kabul now say these have collapsed.

Peace efforts in Afghanistan were driven further into a dead end by the September assassination of Kabul peace envoy Burhanuddin Rabbani by a suicide turban bomber.

"Pakistan has no hidden agenda for pursuit of peace in Afghanistan and in the region," Khar told the news conference.

"We want a stable and peaceful government in Afghanistan which allows us to function peacefully," she added.

© 2011 AFP

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