Karzai wants Pakistan to help in talks with Taliban

Afghan President Hamid Karzai met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday and urged Pakistan to facilitate political reconciliation talks with the Taliban.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Karzai said he asked Sharif to provide a platform for talks between the Afghan High Peace Council and the Taliban.

He said the subject topped the agenda in his talks with Sharif.

Karzai arrived in Islamabad on Monday morning for a one-day visit, traveling with a 10-member delegation that included three Cabinet ministers and Salahuddin Rabbani, the head of the Afghan High Peace Council.

Karzai said the primary concern for Pakistan and Afghanistan is the lack of security for their citizens and called for a "common campaign against extremism."

Sharif said Pakistan's security is linked to Afghanistan and assured full cooperation for Afghanistan's reconciliation process.

"We fully agree that this process has to be Afghan-owned, Afghan-led," he said.

Karzai reviewed an honor guard and was presented to Pakistani Cabinet ministers and diplomats before the start of the talks with Sharif at the Prime Minister House.

Sharif's adviser for foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Chief of the Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and the head of Inter Service Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Zaheer Ul Islam, joined Sharif in the meeting.

This was Karzai's first visit to Pakistan since Sharif took office in May.

==Kyodo