The U.S. government on Tuesday tried to persuade Pakistan to drop its boycott on the upcoming Bonn conference on Afghanistan, noting that attending the gathering is in Islamabad's own interests.
"We do think that it's important to note that this conference is, as you said, about Afghanistan, about its future, about building a safer, more prosperous Afghanistan within the region," Toner told reporters at a briefing.
"And so it's very much in Pakistan's interest to attend this conference," he added.
Toner's remarks came following earlier announcement by Islamabad to boycott the conference in protest to a recent NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
The conference is scheduled to be held on Dec. 5 to discuss the post withdrawal Afghanistan and possibility of talks with Taliban, which Pakistan had previously decided to send its Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar to.
Toner noted that there will be 85 nations and 15 international organizations that will attend the Bonn conference.
"So while we would like to have Pakistan there, we still think it'll be a valuable opportunity to talk about Afghanistan's future, " he said.
The NATO attacks on Pakistani soldiers have drawn furious reactions from Islamabad who has decided to close the NATO logistic supply lines in Pakistan immediately and ordered the U.S. to vacate a key airbase in the country's southwest Balochistan province within 15 days.
Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani warned on Monday that his country's relationship with the U.S. can only continue with mutual respect and mutual interest.
The U.S.-Pakistani ties have been sent to a decade low by a series of disputes between the two countries, including the U.S. secret raid into Pakistan in May that killed Osama bin Laden and the quarrels on the al-Haqqani networks which is accused by the U. S. as a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's intelligence service.
Pakistan sees the killing of its soldiers and secret raids into the country as a violation of its sovereignty, while the U.S. always complains about insufficient cooperation from Pakistan on its counter-terrorism effort.