Peace with Taliban urged
Pakistan stands strongly behind efforts to make peace with the Taliban and Afghanistan should set the parameters for any talks to end the war, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Gilani said Saturday. At a news conference in Kabul, Gilani and Afghan President Hamid Karzai said a new Afghanistan-Pakistan Joint Commission composed of top-ranking officials is being set up to accelerate and promote a peace process. Any solution to the war requires the support of Pakistan, and in particular elements of its security forces, which are believed to have links to insurgents in Afghanistan. Gilani, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who is head of the Pakistani army, and Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who leads the spy agency, and other officials flew to Kabul at a time when U.S. relations with both nations are deeply strained. Having the trio in Kabul at the same time underscored the importance of the daylong round of talks.
As of Saturday, 1,427 U.S. troops have died in the war in Afghanistan. Identifications as reported by the U.S. military and not previously published:
• Army Spc. Brent M. Maher, 31, Council Bluffs, Iowa; explosion Monday; Paktia province.
• Army Sgt. Donald L. Nichols, 21, Shell Rock, Iowa; explosion Wednesday; Laghman province.
• Army Pvt. Brandon T. Pickering, 21, Fort Thomas, Ky.; small-arms fire and a rocket-propelled grenade April 8; Wardak province.
• Army Sgt. Jose M. Caraballo Pietri, 32, Yauco, Puerto Rico; small-arms fire April 10; Badghis province.
• Marine Staff Sgt. Jason A. Rogers, 28, Brandon, Miss.; combat April 7; Helmand province.