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Kabul Hosts Regional Military Chiefs

Pakistani Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (file photo)

The Afghan capital is hosting military chiefs from several neighboring countries, including Pakistan, for a conference to discuss ways to fight against terrorism.

Afghan and Pakistani officials said the February 13 meeting in Kabul will include Pakistan's chief of army staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and military chiefs from a number of Central Asian countries.

The meeting is also expected to be attended by U.S. and NATO representatives, including U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel and General John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Bajwa's presence is particularly significant as both Afghan and U.S. officials ratchet up pressure on Pakistan to take action against militants operating in the country. Islamabad denies harboring militant groups that carry out attacks in Afghanistan.

The Western-backed government in Kabul has been struggling to fend off the Taliban and other militant groups since the withdrawal of most NATO troops in 2014.

Talks at the Kabul conference were also expected to touch upon narcotics trade in the region.

Afghanistan is the world's top producer of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced.

In a report released in November, the Afghan Ministry of Counternarcotics and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime said opium production in the country increased by 87 percent to a "record level" of 9,000 tons last year, compared with 2016 levels.

With reporting by AP, Pajhwok, and Khaama Press