2 May 2009

Obama to host Afghanistan/Pakistan summit

9:40 pm on 2 May 2009

US President Barack Obama will host a summit with his Afghan and Pakistani counterparts next week, amid growing US concern over the deteriorating situation in the region.

Mr Obama has put nuclear-armed Pakistan, a key regional US ally, at the centre of the fight against Al-Qaeda, dispatching 4000 more troops to the country.

An extra 17,000 troops have already been committed, to Afghanistan.

The focus is on flushing out Al-Qaeda sanctuaries in Pakistan and boosting civilian efforts to build up both Afghanistan and Pakistan, notably in agriculture and education.

The New York Times is reporting that the Obama administration is also reaching out to former Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif, whose Pakistan Muslim League-N coalition includes a number of Islamist groups.