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    Durand Line not discussed in London: Faizi

    KABUL (PAN): The issue of the Durand Line had not be discussed between President Hamid Karzai and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari when they met in London last week, a presidential spokesman said on Sunday.

     In London, Karzai held a series of meetings with Zardari at the trilateral talks hosted by the UK premier David Cameron. The two presidents agreed on various issues, including jointly working to reach a peace deal with the Taliban over the next six months.

    To a question, Karzai's chief spokesman Aimal Faizi told reporters in Kabul on Sunday that the Durand Line, the 2,640 kilometers long porous border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, did not come under discussion at the UK summit.

    He rejected as unfounded some media reports that claimed the Afghan government had agreed to recognising the Durand Line as an international border.

    Named after Mortimer Durand who was the Foreign Secretary of colonial British India at the time, Durand Line came into being after an 1893 agreement between Mortimer Durand of British India and Afghan Amir Abdur Rahman Khan for fixing the limit of their respective spheres of influence.

    Faizi said Karzai and Zardari had discussed the security situation along the border. "This is a big decision that the government cannot take alone," said Faizi, who asked media representatives to confirm reports as authentic before publishing them.

    Faizi, who accompanied President Karzai during his five day foreign trip, said Afghanistan had urged Pakistan to adopt more measures along the shared border in order militants' infiltration could be stemmed.

    On a possible strategic agreement with Pakistan, he said the current atmosphere, hit by trust deficit and continued allegations of interferences over the last three decades conflict, was not in favour for such deals between the two countries.

    "Public opinion in Afghanistan goes against any such deal with Pakistan. It will take time to get that ready to accept," he added, and hinted at a strategic agreement with Turkey in the near future.

    Faizi also explained that London paid stay expenses for Afghan officials who accompanied Karzai during the trip, angrily rejecting reports that the Afghan delegation spent $600,000 in a luxury hotel during the two-night stay in London.

    ml/ma



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