Delegates from both countries agreed after three days of talks in Islamabad today to work together on the basis of "mutual respect for each nation's national sovereignty and territorial integrity."
The delegates plan to meet again in April to finalize dates for the tribal assemblies, or jirgas.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf first agreed on a tribal approach against militancy during a meeting with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington in September 2006.
Islamabad, which is concerned about possible territorial claims upon Pakistan's tribal border regions, opposes the idea of a single assembly of Pashtun tribal leaders from both sides of the border.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai (left) with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in Islamabad in October 2005 (epa)
ACROSS A DIFFICULT BORDER. The contested border between Pakistan and Afghanistan is some 2,500 kilometers long and runs through some of the most rugged, inhospitable territory on Earth. Controlling that border and preventing Taliban militants from using Pakistan as a staging ground for attacks in Afghanistan is an essential part of the U.S.-led international coalition's strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan. Officials in Kabul have been pointing their fingers at Pakistan for some time, accusing Islamabad or intelligence services of turning a blind eye to cross-border terrorism targeting the Afghan central government. Many observers remain convinced that much of the former Taliban regime's leadership -- along with leaders of Al-Qaeda -- are operating in the lawless Afghan-Pakistani border region.... (more)