(LONDON) — After a meeting in London hosted by British Prime Minister David Cameron, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, agreed on Monday to a peace deal to be completed by sometime this summer.
In a joint statement, Karzai and Zadari said, “All sides agreed on the urgency of this work and committed themselves to take all necessary measures to achieve the goal of a peace settlement over the next six months.”
Both leaders called on the Taliban to join them in talks in an effort to reach a negotiated pact to end the 11-and-a-half year war.
Without Taliban officials present in London, the agreement was obviously one-sided. But in a sign of reconciliation, Karzai did agree to allow the Taliban to open an office in Doha, Qatar, which is supported by Washington.
Afghanistan had worried before that such a move would cut Kabul out of any talks between the U.S. and the Taliban to arrive at a peaceful settlement to the war.
While Afghanistan and Pakistan are not at war, each side has blamed the other for allowing militants to cross freely over their shared border. Support from Islamabad is seen as crucial in Kabul’s attempts to maintain stability once U.S. and coalition forces leave in 2014.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Eliza Mackintosh, CNN
Samantha Beech, CNN
Joe Sterling and Darran Simon, CNN