Tribal elders and religious leaders attending the security conference are from the provinces of Zabul, Oruzgan, Kandahar, and Helmand -- areas where Afghan and foreign troops have seen a resurgence of Taliban violence during the past year.
Karzai's delegation includes his defense and interior ministers as well as members of parliament. The top NATO commander and senior UN representative in Afghanistan also are attending, along with ambassadors from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and Britain.
As the talks in Kandahar were under way, a suicide bomber attacked the governor's residence in neighboring Helmand Province, killing at least eight people.
Haji Mohayoddin, a spokesman for Helmand's Provincial Governor Mohammad Daoud, said the attack killed six security guards and two civilians. Helmand's provincial police chief, General Nabi Mullahkhail, says eight people were wounded. The suicide bomber made it into the the governor's compound in the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah.
Karzai is scheduled to travel to Helmand Province after the security conference in Kandahar.
RFE/RL's correspondent in Kandahar reports that other topics to be discussed include Afghan-Pakistani relations, recent civilian casualties as a result of NATO military actions, and reconstruction efforts. The security conference is billed as a fourth session on "policy and action" of the Afghan government. The three previous sessions were all in Kabul.
A U.S. military vehicle damaged by insurgents near Kandahar (epa)
HOMEGROWN OR IMPORTED? As attacks against Afghan and international forces continue relentlessly, RFE/RL hosted a briefing to discuss the nature of the Afghan insurgency. The discussion featured Marvin Weinbaum, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and RFE/RL Afghanistan analyst Amin Tarzi.
LISTENListen to the entire briefing (about 83 minutes):
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