Pakistan tells US envoys it hopes to revive Afghan talks

AP News
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Posted: Nov 11, 2015 6:48 AM

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistani officials told visiting U.S. envoys on Wednesday that Islamabad hopes to revive peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban that collapsed earlier this year.

A Foreign Ministry statement said Tariq Fatemi, the prime minister's special assistant on foreign affairs, told acting U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Laurel Miller that his country favors an "Afghan-led and Afghan-owned reconciliation process."

He also reiterated Pakistan's "desire to build a constructive and trust-based relationship with Afghanistan."

The U.S. Embassy said Miller and Peter Lavoy, the president's special assistant for South Asian affairs, had "productive meetings" with senior Pakistani officials on Tuesday and Wednesday.

They "reiterated the United States' deep appreciation for the sacrifices Pakistan has made in the fight against terrorism," it said.

The Pakistan-brokered peace talks broke down weeks after they were launched last summer when Afghanistan's spy agency said that Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar had died in Pakistan two years earlier. The announcement plunged the Taliban into a leadership crisis and led to the immediate suspension of the talks.

Relations between Islamabad and Kabul suffered a further blow in August when Afghanistan blamed Pakistan for a truck bomb in its capital that killed 15 people. The two countries have long accused each other of backing insurgents who operate along their porous border.

U.S. President Barack Obama welcomed Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the White House last month and commended Pakistan for hosting the July peace talks.

But Afghanistan has said the talks are unlikely to be revived unless Pakistan does more to rein in the Taliban and other insurgent groups.

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Associated Press writer Lynne O'Donnell in Kabul contributed to this report.