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Karzai: Afghanistan, Pakistan to Boost Taliban Peace Efforts

Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, left, speaks with Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai during a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 16, 2011

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani have agreed to boost joint efforts to make peace with the Taliban.

Gilani flew Saturday to the Afghan capital, Kabul, to hold talks with President Karzai.

At a news conference after their meeting, Karzai said Pakistan has upgraded a joint Afghan-Pakistan peace commission to the highest government level. He said the Pakistani prime minister is now leading the Pakistani side of the commission along with Pakistan's chief of army staff and the nation's intelligence chief. President Karzai indicated Afghanistan would enact a similar upgrade.

The commission is aimed at working out logistics for negotiations with the Taliban. Gilani said Pakistan supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and said Kabul must set the parameters for any talks. He said imposing conditions or demands on the reconciliation process at this stage is not helpful.

In addition to peace efforts, trade issues and improving security were among the topics the two leaders were scheduled to discuss.

The talks between Afghanistan and Pakistan come at a time when U.S. relations with both nations are strained.

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