ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Afghan President Hamid Karzai arrived in the Pakistani capital on Monday for meetings expected to focus on stalled peace talks with the Taliban.
Accompanied by an 80-member delegation, it was Karzai's first visit to Pakistan since the election of a new government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He will be holding one-on-one meetings with Sharif "specifically focusing on pushing forward the stalled Afghan reconciliation process with the Afghan Taliban," a senior government official said.
Among other issues that are likely to come under discussion are the release of Afghan Taliban prisoners including Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the second-in-command of Afghanistan's Taliban, who was arrested a few years back in Karachi.
Pakistani diplomatic sources said "that Mr. Karzai wants the Afghan Taliban to be influenced to hold direct talks with him so as to recognize his authority, but the Afghan Taliban do not want to hold any talks with him as they consider him a puppet" of the U.S.
Karzai is also to meet outgoing Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.