Afghan president thanks Pakistan for help with Taliban talks

Published: January 17, 2019
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PM Imran Khan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

PM Imran Khan and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

 ISLAMABAD  : Afghan President Ashraf Ghani thanked Pakistan on Thursday for its help in pushing forward peace talks with the Taliban as diplomatic efforts continued to keep the process on track.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who has been leading efforts to broker an agreement with the Afghan Taliban, is in Pakistan following meetings with Ghani and other Afghan officials in Kabul.

Ghani called Prime Minister Imran Khan and “expressed his gratitude for Pakistan’s sincere facilitation of these efforts”, according to a statement from the PM Office.

The two leaders also issued invitations to visit their respective countries and agreed “to remain engaged and create an environment for resolving all outstanding issues”, it said.

US special envoy Khalilzad arrives in Pakistan

Afghanistan’s hostile relations with Pakistan have warmed somewhat as regional countries have joined the effort to push the insurgents to open talks with Kabul.

Taliban representatives have met Khalilzad on at least three occasions but have so far refused to talk directly to the internationally recognised Afghan government, which they consider an illegitimate regime put in place by foreign powers.

The date of Khalilzad’s next meeting with Taliban officials remains unclear after the group threatened to stall the process over disagreements about plans to withdraw international forces from Afghanistan.

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