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Kerry Hosts Afghan-Pakistan Talks in Brussels

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and top Pakistani officials for talks aimed at easing tensions between the neighboring countries ahead of the NATO withdraw from Afghanistan next year.

Kerry, who hosted Wednesday's trilateral meeting in Brussels, said he was "very hopeful" for a productive series of discussions with Mr. Karzai, Pakistani Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani and (Pakistan) Foreign Minister Jalil Jilani.

He added that Afghanistan was currently in a "critical transformation period."

Mr. Karzai expressed his optimism to reporters ahead of the meeting, saying he was "looking forward for the best."

The talks came a day after a NATO foreign ministers meeting in the Belgian capital during which NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called on Pakistan to play a positive role in bringing long-term peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Tensions between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been strained for years, with Afghanistan accusing Pakistan of supporting Taliban fighters along their shared border.

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Newly-elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, center, arrives for an inauguration ceremony at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 29, 2014.

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