Visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron told his Pakistani counterpart Sunday he would help Pakistan fight terrorism and try to bring peace to neighboring Afghanistan as the West pushes for talks with the Taliban ahead of NATO's withdrawal.
Cameron's visit to Islamabad took place as a car bomb targeting a security convoy near the northwestern city of Peshawar killed at least 16 people and wounded dozens more, underscoring the Islamist militant violence on both sides of the Afghan border.
Police said most of the victims were civilians because the bomb targeting the Frontier Corps exploded in a bustling market area, damaging many shops and vehicles. There has been no immediate claim of responsibility.
Cameron told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Afghanistan and Pakistan have a mutual interest in ensuring one another were stable and prosperous.
"I profoundly believe that a stable, prosperous, peaceful, democratic Afghanistan is in Pakistan's interest just as a strong, stable, peaceful, prosperous and democratic Pakistan is in Afghanistan's interest," he said.
The British leader welcomed Sharif's pledge to help secure a deal with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan is seen as key to any peace effort because of its historical links with the insurgents.
With his brief visit Sunday, Cameron became the first Western head of state to hold face-to-face talks with Pakistan's new prime minister since his election in May.
Cameron met Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Kabul on Saturday in an attempt restart stalled peace talks there, but Karzai warned a deal with the Taliban could split his country.
The search for a peace deal has become urgent as 100,000 U.S.-led NATO combat troops prepare to withdraw next year and Afghan forces take on the fight against insurgents.
Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.