Page last updated at 00:23 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

Key Afghan-Pakistani talks in US

By Kim Ghattas
BBC News, Washington

Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington. Photo: 26/02/09
Mrs Clinton said Washington was committed to its friends

The US, Afghanistan and Pakistan have agreed to hold regular talks to tackle rising violence in Afghanistan and in volatile border areas in Pakistan.

The move follows a three-day meeting of the foreign ministers of the three nations in Washington.

The talks were part of a plan by President Barack Obama's administration to review US policy in the region.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the three nations had a common goal, a common threat and a common task.

Pakistan's demand

The rare trilateral meetings are an indication of the more regional approach that the Obama administration is taking to tackle the growing instability in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Masked Taleban militants pose for a photographer in Wardak province. File photo
The Taleban are believed to have safe havens in the Afghan border region

Policy towards the region in recent years had been mired by turf battles within the administration and lack of co-ordination between US embassies in Kabul and Islamabad.

Mrs Clinton said last week that after a visit to the two countries in 2007 she had advised the Bush administration to appoint one person to devise a comprehensive policy.

As the new Secretary of State, Mrs Clinton now has her own envoy, Richard Holbrook, who participated in the latest talks at the State Department, along with General David Petraeus who commands US troops in Central Asia and the Middle East.

In her statement after the meetings, Mrs Clinton said that Washington was committed to its friends.

The Afghan delegation asked for more help to build their country's police force.

While the Pakistanis said they wanted an end to US drone attacks inside their territory.

Results of the US policy review are expected next month. Along with an increase of US troops already announced, it is expected that Washington will put more focus on civilian aid.

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