Pakistan skipping Bonn conference

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- Pakistan won't attend the Bonn conference on Afghanistan's future to protest a NATO airstrike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, Geo News reported.

The Bonn conference is set for the weekend, with representatives from about 90 countries expected to attend.


The decision not to send Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to Bonn was taken Tuesday at a Cabinet meeting headed by Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, the Wall Street Journal reported, quoting an official.

The decision is the latest in a series of steps Pakistan has taken in reaction to Saturday's NATO airstrike in Mohmand tribal area in which 24 Pakistani soldiers died. Other actions include closing the two routes used to transport supplies for the coalition forces in Afghanistan, and ordering the United States to vacate in the two weeks an air base in Balochistan Province.

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NATO has begun an investigation into the airstrike, which Pakistan says was unprovoked.

Pakistan's decision not to attend the Bonn meeting is a major blow to the United States as Washington has been seeking to have Islamabad play a bigger role in bringing the Taliban to peace negotiations to end the 10-year conflict, the Journal reported. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to attend the conference.


The United States is set to withdraw most of its troops from Afghanistan by 2014 and Pakistan's role is seen as vital as it has been involved in the region including the creation of the Taliban.

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In the NATO airstrike incident, the Journal quoted U.S. officials as saying a joint patrol of NATO and Afghan forces called in the strike after a fire fight near the border with suspected militants. The report also said the United States is looking into the possibility the NATO forces mistook the Pakistani posts as militant bases.

U.S.-Pakistan relations had been strained even before the airstrike.

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