Pakistan boycotts Afghan peace conference

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The Independent Online

Pakistan has pulled out of an international conference on the future of Afghanistan, its latest angry riposte after a cross-border attack by Nato that killed 24 of its soldiers. Nato says the attack was a tragic mistake.

Islamabad's decision to boycott next week's meeting in the German city of Bonn on securing peace after Nato troops leave Afghanistan in 2014 means a key player that can lean on Taliban militants to join the process will be absent.

"The cabinet reaffirmed Pakistan's support for stability and peace in Afghanistan and the importance of an Afghan-led, Afghan-owned process of reconciliation," the government said.

"Pakistan looks forward to the success of this conference but in view of developments and prevailing circumstances has decided not to participate."

The move will not be seen as a major setback to the process of planning Afghanistan's future as few tangible results were expected at Bonn. "The agenda of Bonn does not depend on Pakistan, nor does its success depend on Pakistan," a senior British Foreign Office official said. "But it would be better for Pakistan if she were there. There is a slight risk of the Pakistanis disenfranchising themselves."