Afghanistan urges Pakistan to take steps for peace

** FILE ** An Afghan policeman and security forces stand guard in front of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani's house after he was killed in suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)** FILE ** An Afghan policeman and security forces stand guard in front of former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani’s house after he was killed in suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)
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There is debate over how much influence Pakistan actually has with the Taliban, but most analysts believe that the country is vital to the success of any peace talks.

“My own sense is that Pakistani influence and connections and its clout is largely exaggerated,” said Riffat Hussain, a professor of defense studies at Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad. “But if there is any player who can act as a bridge to bring these guys on board, it has to be Pakistan.” Specifically, he said, the powerful Pakistani intelligence service must be involved.

On Sunday, NATO forces said in a statement that an international service member died Saturday in a bomb attack in southern Afghanistan. The military coalition did not provide further details.

At least 43 international service members have died in Afghanistan in September, the majority of them American forces.

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Associated Press writers Heidi Vogt in Kabul and Sebastian Abbot in Islamabad, Pakistan, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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