PESHAWAR: Jamiat Ulema-i-Islami-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq on Wednesday welcomed a US offer of direct talks with the Afghan Taliban.

In a statement issued here, the JUI-S chief termed the US peace overture as pragmatic. He said talks were the only way to restore peace in the country and seek an honourable exit for Washington from there as well.

He said the US should not hesitate to acknowledge the fact that the Taliban were the most formidable political and military reality of the country. He said the world would also welcome resumption of talks between the US and Taliban.

However, he warned that forces inimical to the peace and vested interests won’t let peace overtures to succeed as their survival rested on the continuing bloodshed in the country.

Mr Sami also demanded removal of important Taliban leaders’ names from the most wanted list.

Published in Dawn, July 19th, 2018