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Afghan President Arrives In Islamabad For Regional Conference

Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, right, greets Afghan President Ashraf Ghani upon his arrival at the military Nur Khan airbase in Rawalpindi on December 9.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has arrived in Islamabad to attend a regional conference aimed at bolstering support for his country amid intensified fighting by Taliban militants.

The Heart Of Asia conference, hosted by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, also is being attended by the foreign ministers of India, China, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Iran.

The two-day meeting, which began on December 8, is focusing on energy, infrastructure, and investment deals in a bid to shore up reconstruction commitments to Afghanistan.

U.S. officials have said they hope Pakistan will help resuscitate peace talks with the Taliban that broke down in July after it emerged that Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar had been dead for two years.

Afghan Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai told the conference that terrorist violence, including attacks by Islamic State militants around the world, highlights “the urgency for a united position against this evil phenomenon.”

Shortly after the conference began on December 8, Taliban fighters launched a bold attack on an airfield in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar.

Based on reporting by Reuters, BBC, AP, and AFP