US urges Afghanistan-Pakistan on Afghan peace process

AP News
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Posted: Jan 21, 2016 9:21 AM
US urges Afghanistan-Pakistan on Afghan peace process

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The United States on Thursday urged the leaders of Afghanistan and Pakistan to support a credible peace process with the Afghan Taliban.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry made the case to Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The White House said Biden and Kerry reaffirmed U.S. support for improved ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan, offered condolences to both for recent terrorist attacks in their countries and called on them to stay committed to a negotiated end to the Afghan civil war.

Biden "reaffirmed U.S. support for reconciliation and improved bilateral ties between Afghanistan and Pakistan and called them important pillars of regional stability (and) encouraged both leaders to remain committed to a credible peace process reinforced by tangible steps to reduce violence, eliminate militant safe havens, and promote bilateral cooperation," the White House said in a statement.

The meeting came less than a week after diplomats from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States met in Kabul and called on the Taliban to resume peace talks with the Afghan government.

In a joint statement, the four nations said Monday their talks "made progress on a roadmap toward initiating peace talks with Taliban groups." The statement said they hope to bring the two sides together for talks "aimed at reduction of violence and establishing lasting peace in Afghanistan and the region."

They called on all Taliban groups to enter into early peace talks and agreed to meet again in Islamabad on Feb. 6.

The war shows no sign of abating, with the Taliban challenging Afghan forces on a number of fronts since the U.S. and NATO formally concluded their combat mission at the end of last year.