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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Meeting with Karzai; Miliband due in Islamabad today

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KABUL: UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband held a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in a surprise visit to the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday. According to sources of British embassy, Miliband arrived in Afghanistan on Monday but he was unable to release further details of the secretary’s schedule.

Miliband was last in Afghanistan in February when he visited with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Britain is the second-largest contributor of troops to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force of nearly 51,000 soldiers that is helping the Afghan government fight a Taliban-led insurgency.

There are about 8,000 British soldiers in ISAF, most of them based in the opium-growing region of Helmand which is also a Taliban stronghold. However, a British soldier was killed in an explosion in Helmand on Monday. The death took to 126 the number of British services personnel killed in Afghanistan since 2001, the year the Taliban was forced from government in a US-led invasion.

Whereas Britain Foreign Minister David Miliband is arriving in Islamabad on his two day visit on Wednesday. During the visit he will hold meetings with President Asif Ali Zardari to discuss the issues of mutual interest, present Afghan situation, war on terror, enhancement of bilateral relations, security situation of the region, US drone attacks on Pakistan and the role of Friends of Pakistan.

David Miliband would also hold talks with Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and other military and government officials. It would be a second visit of David Miliband to Pakistan from last six months.-SANA

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