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Karzai Urges Pakistan Role in Afghan Peace Process

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai walks to his vehicle after arriving at a military base in Rawalpindi, Pakistan June 10, 2011.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is calling on Pakistan to help his country achieve stability.

Mr. Karzai arrived in Islamabad Friday for a meeting with his counterpart Asif Ali Zardari. Following talks, both presidents told reporters that Afghanistan-Pakistan relations remain strong, with both countries sharing the common goal of peace and prosperity.

The Afghan leader said the "brotherly role" of Pakistan is critical to defeating terrorism in the region.

President Karzai's visit to Pakistan is the first since al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed in a U.S. raid in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad on May 2.

Ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been previously hampered by mistrust.

President Karzai has repeatedly called for Pakistan to do more to fight militants in the border region who launch attacks in neighboring Afghanistan. And Mr. Karzai has said bin Laden's killing in Pakistan showed that the war against terrorism should focus on Islamabad and not Kabul.

The United States has urged Pakistan to play a productive role in Afghanistan's reconciliation process with the Taliban.

Pakistan was one of only three countries that recognized Afghanistan's Taliban-led government in the 1990s. And some members of Pakistan's intelligence services are thought to maintain links with the Taliban and other insurgent groups in Afghanistan.

The head of Afghanistan's peace council, former President Burhanuddin Rabani, is part of Mr. Karzai's delegation to Pakistan. Mr. Rabani on Friday discussed Afghan reconciliation efforts with pro-Taliban cleric Fazlur Rehman, who heads a prominent Islamic party in Pakistan.

A joint peace commission is also scheduled to meet during Mr. Karzai's two-day visit.

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