Sun, Feb 05, 2012 - Page 4 News List

Pakistan’s Gilani to visit Qatar to talk about Afghan peace

AP, ISLAMABAD and PARACHINAR, PAKISTAN

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Reza Gilani will explain his country’s stance on the issue of peace talks with the Afghan Taliban when he travels next week to Qatar to meet the Gulf state’s leaders, a government spokesman said yesterday.

Last month, the Afghan Taliban announced they would set up a political office in Qatar, a major development in a peace process that has already been marked by setbacks and mistrust among the central players.

The trip by Gilani tomorrow comes amid unease in Kabul and Islamabad over the decision by the Taliban to open the Qatar office. Officials in both countries have said they fear they are being left out of the peace process.

Islamist militants attacked a Pakistani army checkpoint near the Afghan border on Friday, killing seven paramilitary soldiers and abducting four, a government official and a Taliban spokesman said.

Jamil Khan, a local official, said around 40 militants armed with rockets, grenades and automatic weapons attacked the army post in the Kurram region, sparking a gunbattle that killed up to 18 militants.

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