Pakistan Urges Afghan Taliban to Participate in Peace Talks

Posted February 24th, 2012 at 7:10 am (UTC-5)
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Pakistan is urging leaders of the Afghan Taliban to take part in peace talks with the Afghan government aimed at ending the 10-year war.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appealed Friday to the Taliban leadership and other Afghan insurgent groups, including Hizb-e-Islami, to “participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace.”

Earlier this week, Afghan President Hamid Karzai again invited the Taliban leadership to direct talks with his government, and said Pakistan's support of the peace process will be “crucial to its success.”

Taliban representatives have reportedly begun preliminary talks with U.S. officials in the Gulf state of Qatar, but the group has repeatedly refused to negotiate with the Afghan government.

Afghan officials have asked for access to senior Taliban leaders who are believed to be based in Pakistan. Islamabad has close, historic ties with the Taliban, but has denied the Afghan insurgent group is based within Pakistan.