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Pakistan seeks direct Afghanistan Taliban talks

KABUL: Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that Islamabad wants the Taliban to concede to the Afghan government’s offer to talk in bid to negotiate a political settlement to the 17-year-old conflict.

“We want them to sit together. It is for Afghans to sort out their problems and as long as they do not sit down and talk to each other, outsiders can do little to help them,” said Qureshi.

Quoted by Dawn in a report on Friday, Pakistani foreign minister said, “Outsiders can do little to help Afghans overcome war if they do not sit together”.

Qureshi’s remarks which are rather promising come as the President’s Special Envoy Umer Daudzai is in Islamabad to hold talks with Pakistani officials as well as political and religious leaders to discuss the Afghan peace.

Daudzai met with Pakistan Foreign Minister on January 8 where they two sides discussed the Afghan peace process and strengthening of bilateral relations between the two countries.

This is amid fears that the Afghan government has been sidelined from the regional efforts on peace talks. Kabul has however rejected such claims and has emphasized that it is involved in the whole process.

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