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Pakistan - Afghanistan

Merkel, Kabul beg Pakistan not to boycott Bonn conference over soldiers' deaths

Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

Afghanistan and Germany are appealing to Pakistan to reverse its decision to boycott next week’s international conference on the Afghan conflict in Bonn. Islamabad announced Tuesday that it would not attend in protest at Saturday’s killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a Nato airstrike.


The Pakistani cabinet took the decision a week ahead of the meeting, leaving open the possibility that it could be reversed.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

Afghanistan reacted by declaring that Pakistan has an important role to play in Bonn, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would try to convince the Pakistanis to attend.

"There was a loya jirga in Afghanistan and there is now a very, very good chance for a possible political process,” she said. “On the one hand I can understand [the boycott] but on the other, we will see what still can be done."

US-Pakistani relations have hit their lowest point yet after the attack, which followed a series of rows that started with the killing of a Pakistani by a CIA contractor in January.

US General Stephen Clark, who is in charge of the inquiry into Saturday’s attack, will not submit his report until 23 December, a statement said Tuesday on the Centcom official site.

The international force in Afghanistan, Isaf, usually conducts such inquiries but this one is to be carried out by the US military.

Nato admits that its forces were “very probably” responsible for the deaths.


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