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Pakistan test-fires nuclear-capable missile following peace conference

Pakistan has launched a missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and hitting neighboring India. The test comes two days after Islamabad said it would resume peace talks with New Dehli.

Pakistan test-fired the nuclear-capable missile on Friday, one day after a regional conference held in the capital of Islamabad calling for improved relations between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

The military said in a statement that the test "was aimed at validating various design and technical parameters of the weapon system." The Shaheen-III, first test-fired in March, can carry a nuclear warhead and reach India and the Middle East.

The test comes despite recent efforts by the Pakistani government to push for peace in the region. On Thursday, talks were held between Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in an effort to establish peace with the Taliban, which has strong support from factions within Pakistan.

Tense relations

A day before that, Pakistan and India released a

joint statement

from the conference agreeing to resume high-level peace talks. Delhi had previously suspended talks between the two countries after a deadly terrorist attack in Mumbai in 2008 was found to have been planned in Pakistan.

Relations between the two countries have been tense since their independence from Britain in 1947. They have fought three wars against each other, two of them over the contested territory of Kashmir.

India test-fired a nuclear-capable missile, the Agni-I, in November.

blc/gb (AP; AFP)

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