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Islamabad Says U.S. Needs Pakistan For Fight In Afghanistan

Kasuri (left) will meet with his Afghan counterpart Spanta in Germany (file photo) (epa) May 29, 2007 -- Pakistan's foreign minister says the need for cooperation on Afghanistan is likely to ensure that Pakistan remains an ally of the United States.

Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri told the Reuters news agency in an interview that Pakistan's government believes that important leaders in Washington understand that Pakistan has a "fundamental" role to play in the future of Afghanistan.

Kasuri confirmed that he is scheduled to meet with his Afghan counterpart, Rangin Dadfar Spanta, on May 30 in the German city of Potsdam for talks organized by Germany's government.

"When I meet my Afghan colleague, what I will point out to him is that if we start attacking each other publicly, it will be counterproductive," Kasuri said. "And that's the good thing that came out of [an earlier] Ankara meeting. The rhetoric has gone down. Both countries understand the difficulties. The international community understands the difficulties."

Pakistan and Afghanistan are both allies of the United States in the war against terrorism. But Afghan and Pakistani government troops have clashed repeatedly along their disputed frontier this month.

In other news, the British Defense Ministry says another British soldier has been killed in Afghanistan. The ministry said in a statement that the soldier was killed as a "result of enemy action" on May 28 in the southern Helmand Province.

This follows the killing of a British soldier on May 25 in an explosion in Helmand. They are the 56th and 57th British soldiers to have died in Afghanistan since the U.S.-led drive to overthrow the Taliban regime began in November 2001.

(compiled from agency reports)