Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani (R) and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrive for a meeting at the Prime Minister House in Islamabad on Thursday.
Credit Aamir Qureshi / AFP/Getty Images
The world of international relations seems to have focused on Pakistan today: The president of Iran and the president of Afghanistan both made their way to the country just as tensions between Iran and Israel made the news and just as reports emerged that the U.S. and the Taliban were beginning secret talks.
The official agenda of the meetings is to discuss counter-terrorism and transnational organized crimes at a regional conference tomorrow in Islamabad.
A French gunner mans a machine gun in a Puma helicopter as it flies over Afghanistan. French President Nicolas Sarkozy recently ordered the withdrawal of all French troops from the country a year ahead of schedule.
Uncertainties surrounding the future of the NATO mission in Afghanistan are of particular concern for an area near Kabul that French troops have controlled for the past decade. France now plans to withdraw its army a year ahead of schedule, sparking fears of a potential crisis in Kapisa province.
On a plateau amid the towering Hindu Kush mountains, Hukum Khan, a 31-year-old Afghan farmer, says the presence of French troops hasn't made much difference in his life in the past 10 years.
Afghan men walk past American soldiers in Ghazni province on Thursday. U.S. and Afghan officials are in talks that will determine how many American troops stay in Afghanistan after the NATO mission ends in 2014.
After a long hiatus, the Afghan and U.S. governments this week reopened talks on a strategic partnership that will determine how many American troops stay in Afghanistan past the end of the NATO mission in 2014.
Taliban fighters walk with their weapons after joining Afghan government forces during a ceremony in Herat province, last month. Thirty fighters left the Taliban to join government forces in western Afghanistan. The Taliban announced recently that they would open a political office in Qatar ahead of talks with Washington.
Credit Aref Karimi / AFP/Getty Images
The surprise announcement last month that the U.S. and the Taliban could soon begin peace talks in the Gulf state of Qatar may have increased the chances of a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan.
But Afghans are treating the prospect with equal measures of hope and suspicion — perhaps more of the latter from the government of President Hamid Karzai.