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PM holds ground-breaking Afghan-Pakistan talks

David Cameron and President Hamid Karzai hold a joint press conference in Afghanistan. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

"It’s our fight, your fight and Pakistan’s fight.”

That is what David Cameron said to the Afghan people about the on-going conflict with insurgents in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

While neighbours, the two countries are also suspicious of one another.

And in its own struggle with the Taliban, Britain views both countries as equal and equally challenging.

That's why the meeting of the leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the UK in Kabul this morning is ground-breaking.

Prime Minister David Cameron meets Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

David Cameron will sit down with Raja Pervez Ashraf, the new Prime Minister of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who must leave office by 2014.

Britain and its US ally are concerned about the lawless border region between the two countries amid concern it will be from there that the insurgent threat will grow after many NATO forces end their combat role in Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

At his press conference in the grounds of the presidential palace in Kabul, the Prime Minister warned the Taliban “not to wait this out” until 2014 because the support of the international community will continue even after the combat boots have been packed away.

That addresses the widely held concern that when the security is handed over– and transition is now well underway – the stability of Afghanistan will be compromised, relative to now.

David Cameron meets British soldiers at Camp Bastion who made a mock up Number 10. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Mr Cameron came to Kabul after meeting British commanders in Helmand Province who urged him to have as many troops for “as long as possible” in the country until the end of 2014.

Of course, there are limits to what can be achieved militarily.

Mr Cameron said the transition of security would be much “improved” if there was further progress on the peace talks with the Taliban. Commanders are concerned Hamid Karzai is not fully committed to them.

When we put that concern to the Afghan President he told us the talks were his “highest priority” but Mr Cameron appeared to admit they had stalled by saying “of course we would make further progress if there were political talks.”

The stakes are high. And British troops leave this mission in two-and-a-half years time.

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