Turkey is the setting for the start of what could prove to be a crucial week for Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai was the first to be welcomed by Turkey’s President Abdullah Gull at the start of two days of talks. Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari attended the opening session which brought together intelligence and military officials from the two countries.
Turkey, a member of NATO, has some 1,700 troops deployed in the conflict in Afghanistan. And a plan to reach out to Taliban insurgents is high on the talks agenda. Turkey has been working behind the scenes to patch up relations between these two countries with a history of deep mutual mistrust.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have been seeking closer cooperation in the fight against militants but Kabul remains suspicious that Islamabad is pursuing its own agenda in the country to the detriment of Afghanistan.
The talks on security in Turkey will pave the way for the international conference on Afghanistan. The leaders will meet again in London on Thursday with the hope of agreeing a framework for the Afghan government to take responsibility for its own security.