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Members of the Nobel Committee for Physics (L-R) Olga Botner, Goran K Hansson and Mats Larsson sit in front of a screen displaying portraits of Arthur Ashkin of the United States, Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada during the announcement of the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on October 2, 2018 in Stockholm. - The Nobel Prize laureates for physics 2018 Arthur Ashkin of the United States won one half of the prize, while Gerard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada shared the other half. (Photo by Hanna FRANZEN / TT News Agency / AFP) / Sweden OUT

US, Pakistan discuss Afghan peace process

AT Monitoring Desk

KABUL: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed over the phone with his Pakistani counterpart the ongoing peace process in Afghanistan to end the conflict as the country enters a critical phase in peace talks.

In reading out Pompeo’s call with Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, State Department spokesman Cale Brown said the top diplomats “discussed a range of issues” that included “the importance of US-Pakistan cooperation on the Afghan peace process and the importance of efforts to support regional stability.”

He did not offer further specifics on the other topics the officials addressed.

The US-Pakistan phone call comes as the Afghans embarked on the Consultative Loya Jirga for Peace, in which the participants will try best to remove the last hurdle on the way to the intra-Afghan talks.

The biggest issue is the relasing of 400 Taliban prisoners, in which the President Ghani said he has no authority to free them based on the Constitution. These prisoners were involved in big crimes, including rape charges.

Moreover, the Washington on Friday urged the participants in the assembly not to allow anyone to opt for “the status quo or complicate” the path to peace in Afghanistan.

In a series of tweets, the top US peace broker Zalmay Khalilzad dubbed the meeting of the Loya Jirga an “historic opportunity” to remove the last hurdle to direct peace talks.

“A positive outcome will mean a reduction in violence and Afghans immediately coming together at the negotiating table,” said the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation.

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