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Pakistan renews offer to facilitate Afghan talks

KABUL: Pakistan has once again offered facilitating another round of peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Pakistan reiterated the offer on Thursday amid the recent events in Afghanistan, where the Taliban captured and controlled for several days the northern city of Kunduz.

Pakistan had earlier arranged the first formal talks between representatives of the Afghan government and Taliban in Murree near Islamabad on July 7 and the second round of talks was expected on July 31, but the scheduled talks were disrupted after the announcement of Mullah Omar’s death.

“Pakistan supported and hosted the first round of intra-Afghan dialogue or peace and reconciliation process and if both sides agreed we are ready to offer our cooperation to them for future talks,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Qazi Khalilullah told a weekly news conference in Islamabad.

“We have been helping Afghanistan in many ways, in their development process, in their efforts to counter-terrorism, and we have remained in touch with the government in Kabul at various levels and have tried our best to restore the level of trust between the two countries,” Khalilullah said.

Strongly rejecting allegations of Pakistan’s involvement in Kunduz fighting, the Pakistani official said reiterated Pakistan’s condemnation of attempt by any group to occupy areas in Afghanistan.

“There is no truth in allegations that Pakistani agencies or forces are involved in attacks (in Kunduz) or elsewhere in Afghanistan. We have also said that occupation of Afghan territory by force by any group is condemnable,” he said. He said Pakistan is determined not to allow its soil to be used against Afghanistan.

On Friday, Pakistan Chief of Army Staff Gen. Raheel Sharif and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif discussed the security situation at the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Raheel Sharif also briefed Premier Nawaz regarding his visit to Germany where he spoke about regional security and Pak-Afghan ties while addressing a conference, DAWN.com reported. (PAN)

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