Pak Army, ISI chief accompanied Sirajuddin Haqqani during meeting with Karzai

     Nothwithstanding US objections, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has reportedly held a face-to-face meeting with the Haqqani network chief Sirajuddin Haqqani to push forward the reconciliation effort. Al-Jazeera television channel quoted sources as saying that Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Shuja Pasha had accompanied Haqqani to the meeting, which took place earlier this week. "With the US planning to start withdrawing troops by July 2011, Karzai may be cozying up to Islamabad," the channel's Kabul based correspondent said. However, both the Karzai's office and the Pakistan Army have denied any such meeting having taking place. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said he has "no knowledge of such meeting," The Daily Times reports. While US officials have acknowledged that reconciliation with some top ranking Taliban fighters will most likely be necessary for peace, they have strongly objected to any power-sharing deal with such Afghan Taliban leaders as Sirajuddin Haqqani and his father, Jalaluddin, or with the Taliban warlord Mullah Muhammad Omar. On the other hand, Islamabad and Afghan President Hamid Karzai are of the view that with the United States scheduled to begin pulling out of Afghanistan next year, it is necessary to work out a coalition involving the Taliban.

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