US-Afghan talks to go ahead without Pakistan

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 15, 2011 11:40 hrs

Kabul, Feb 15 (DPA) US and Afghan officials were to go ahead with bilateral talks later this month after Washington postponed a planned trilateral meeting with Pakistan, an official said Tuesday.

The Afghan embassy in Washington said that the talks would take place Feb 23-25, the dated previously set for this year's annual three-way between the two countries and Pakistan.

'High-ranking officials of Afghanistan and the US will combine dialogue on advancing security and agriculture with a focus on key areas of mutual cooperation, seeking to deepen links between the countries,' the statement said.

The US government Saturday said that the trilateral meeting originally planned for those dates had been postponed to an unfixed date due to political changes in Pakistan.

The postponement came amid mounting tensions between Washington and Islamabad triggered by the arrest of a US citizen. Police arrested Raymond Davis, 36, Jan 27 after he killed two Pakistani motorcyclists under disputed circumstances in the eastern city of Lahore.

The Pakistani police Friday rejected the US consulate employee's self-defence claim and accused him of murder. The US has repeatedly said that Davis should enjoy diplomatic immunity.

The latest developments could further deepen the already strained US-Pakistan relations amid Washington's renewed efforts to tackle extremism in Pakistan and curb Taliban activities in Afghanistan.