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‘Crisis hotline’ set up between Pakistan, Afghan, Turkish presidents

December 10, 2012

Photo dated Nov 1, 2011 shows Turkish President Abdullah Gul (L), his Pakistani counterpart Ali Asif Zardari (C) and Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai (R) leave Ciragan Palace for a lunch after their meeting in Istanbul before a trilateral summit between Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan. —AFP Photo

ANKARA: A hotline has been established to facilitate communication among the presidents of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey “in times of crisis,” a Turkish official said Monday.

“The hotline has been operational since yesterday (Sunday),” the official said on condition of anonymity but noted that the presidents have not used it yet.

“It is designed to help communication among the three capitals in times of crisis,” the official added.

The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan are due to hold talks in Turkey on Tuesday and Wednesday in a bid to resolve a row after Kabul claimed an attack against its spy chief was planned in Pakistan.

The assassination attempt on National Directorate of Security (NDS) chief Asadullah Khalid was carried out Thursday by an attacker who claimed to be a Taliban peace envoy but had a bomb hidden in his underwear.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai did not directly blame Pakistan for the attack but said the Taliban alone would not have been able to carry out the bombing and that “bigger hands were involved”.

The Pakistani foreign ministry rejected the claim and said it was ready to help investigate what it called a criminal act.

Turkish President Abdullah Gul will host his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari and Karzai during a dinner on Tuesday.

The summit in Ankara will be the seventh in Turkey, a Nato member, since the regular consultation mechanism was established in 2007 to encourage both countries to cooperate against extremism.