Clinton praises Turkish role before Afghan talks
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday hailed Turkey as a positive force as she prepared to head to Istanbul for a long-awaited conference on Afghanistan.
The State Department said Clinton will take part in Wednesday's meeting in Istanbul, which will look ahead at Afghanistan's future as US combat troops prepare to leave at the end of 2014.
Clinton said that Turkey, which is the only Muslim-majority member of NATO and has 1,800 soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan, has "a great ability to communicate" in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.
"Turkey has a great deal of credibility with a number of the countries, and therefore its involvement is a very helpful assistance to us," Clinton told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari also plan to attend the Istanbul conference. Clinton visited both Islamabad and Kabul last week.
The State Department said that Clinton would also visit London on Tuesday to deliver an address to a conference on cyberspace led by the British government.
© 2011 AFP