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More talks on Afghan future

BONN, Germany (CNN) -- As a meeting on Afghanistan's political future continues in Bonn, a second Afghan conference -- focusing on reconstruction of the devastated country's social fabric -- is to begin on Thursday.

Representatives from all walks of Afghan life are to attend the meeting, called the Civil Society Conference for Peace and Reconstruction in Afghanistan.

The meeting will include non-governmental organisations, academics, journalists, professionals, women's organisations, traders, and influential members of the Afghan diaspora.

"The conference should be a first step in starting up reconstruction and confidence-building at the civil society level," a news release said. "In view of the difficult political situation in Afghanistan, its inclusion is of crucial important for success in the peace process."

The conference, which will begin Thursday night and run through until Sunday night, was prompted by the chief U.N. envoy to Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi.

The conference intends to give significant sectors in Afghanistan's civilian society, particularly women, a voice in the peace process.

The news release says about 80 people from Afghanistan's civil society -- about half women -- will be taking part.

Two-thirds of the participants will come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran and Dubai. The rest will representative the Afghan diaspora in Europe and the United States.

The concept and organisation of the meeting have been handled by the Swiss Peace Foundation in Berne, Switzerland, and the Foundation for Science and Politics in Berlin.

The Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs supports the event financially within the framework of its civilian peace-building policy. Other contributions come form the Dutch Foreign Ministry and from American and European foundations.

Also being held in Bonn is a U.N.-led meeting of Afghan political factions. Delegates to that meeting have been discussing an interim administration and security for post-Taliban Afghanistan.


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