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Afghan delegation arrives in Pakistan to discuss peace

KABUL, Afghanistan -- The Afghan government on Thursday sent a high-level delegation to Pakistan to discuss an action plan after Islamabad-hosted peace talks with the Taliban were suspended last month, officials said.

The one-day visit followed an angry speech by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in which he claimed Pakistan was involved in a spate of devastating Taliban attacks that struck the Afghan capital last week, killing dozens. The Monday speech signaled an abrupt shift for Ghani from a position of fence-mending outreach to one of open frustration with Pakistan, reports CBS News' Maria Usman.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar reported dead

Since taking office, Ghani has pursued closer relations with Pakistan, which wields influence over the Taliban, CBS News' Ahmad Mukhtar reports. His hope was that Pakistan could use that influence to bring the Taliban into peace negotiations with the Afghan government. Pakistan hosted the first official round of negotiations between Afghanistan and the Taliban last month, but a second round of talks was indefinitely postponed after the Afghan government announced the death the reclusive Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammad Omar.

When the Taliban claimed responsibility for the recent deadly attacks in Kabul, President Ghani changed tack, calling on Pakistan to crack down on the Taliban and accusing the country of supporting the group.

"We know (Taliban leaders) have sanctuaries there, we know they are active there," Ghani said in a televised address on Monday. "We need all those activities to be stopped."

He also seemed to take a step back from his pursuit of peace negotiations.

"We don't want Pakistan to bring the Taliban to peace talks, but to stop the Taliban's activities on their soil," he said.

As further indication of souring relations between the two countries, social media campaigns have been created in the wake of the Kabul attacks, which call for a boycott of Pakistani products in Afghanistan, Mukhtar reports.

"(I) went grocery shopping today and refused to buy the Pakistani products," said 22-year-old student Meetra Alokozai, who is participating in the boycott. "(I) replaced them with Afghan products and did not buy the ones that had the Pakistani ones as the only options," she said.

Ghani's deputy spokesman Zafar Hashemi said the Afghan delegation to Pakistan was led by Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani and included national intelligence chief Rahmatullah Nabil and Acting Defense Minister Masoom Stanekzai.

They were scheduled to meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other Pakistani officials. It was not clear if Rabbani would also meet with Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was visiting Islamabad at the same time.

Pakistan, which has in the past denied supporting the Taliban, offered condolences for the victims of Kabul attacks and said it remains committed to maintaining good relations with the Afghan government.

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