British Prime Minister David Cameron was on Monday holding talks with the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan, aimed at preventing the spread of instability in the region when NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year, dpa reported.
Foreign ministers and top military officials from both countries were also attending the trilateral talks at the British premier's country residence, north of London. It is the third round of the talks in the last year.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari also dined with Cameron late Sunday.
"A stable Afghanistan is not just in the interests of Afghans, but also in the interests of their neighbours and the UK," said a spokeswoman for Cameron. "We share the same vision for Afghanistan: a secure, stable and democratic country that never again becomes a haven for international terror."
Karzai indicated in an interview with the Guardian daily that it was important for Pakistan, which has provided a sanctuary for Taliban fighters in its border regions, to be involved in peace talks.
"There will not be peace in Afghanistan by having an agreement only between us and the Afghan Taliban," said Karzai. "Peace will only come when the external elements involved in creating instability and fighting, or lawlessness in Afghanistan, are involved in talks."
As the troop withdrawal deadline draws closer, it has become clear that the Taliban will remain a challenge for Afghan security forces. However Karzai said that he believed violence would drop when NATO troops leave, since many Taliban fighters had been driven to take up arms because of their presence.
But he argued against the "zero option" - the removal of all troops, as the United States is considering - saying that Kabul still needed the support of the international community as the country rebuilds after 30 years of war.
"(The) zero option would be failure, not success," said Karzai.