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Delegates Arrive For Conference on Future of Afghanistan


German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, right, and his Afghan counterpart Salmai Rassul shake hands as they visit the World Conference Centre Bonn (WCCB) , Germany, December 3, 2011.

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, right, and his Afghan counterpart Salmai Rassul shake hands as they visit the World Conference Centre Bonn (WCCB) , Germany, December 3, 2011.

Delegates from around the world are gathering in Bonn, Germany for a conference on the future of Afghanistan.

The conference, which starts Monday, will focus on charting a course for the war-torn country after international combat troops leave in 2014.

The talks are expected to address three key areas including the transfer of security responsibilities from international to Afghan forces, reconciliation with the Taliban, and long-term prospects for international aid.

Representatives of about 100 countries and international organizations are expected to attend the meeting, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

However, Pakistan, a key regional player, is boycotting the conference in protest of NATO airstrikes late last month that killed 24 Pakistani troops near the Afghan border.

The U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Ryan Crocker, says Pakistan's absence would be “unfortunate,” but will not derail Afghan progress or change the outcome of the gathering.

The talks in Bonn are taking place 10 years after the original conference, also in Bonn, in which diplomats appointed a transitional government in Afghanistan.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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