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Afghan president thanks PM Khan for Pakistan's 'sincere facilitation' of peace efforts

Updated January 17, 2019

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Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan. — AFP/File

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday telephoned Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the ongoing international efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

During the call, Ghani "expressed his gratitude for Pakistan’s sincere facilitation of these efforts" that were initiated by US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.

Khan assured the Afghan president that Pakistan was making "sincere efforts for a negotiated settlement" of the Afghan conflict through an inclusive peace process, "as part of shared responsibility".

Read: How Pakistan can help with the Afghan peace process

Ghani invited the premier to visit Afghanistan at his earliest convenience and Khan reciprocated by inviting the Afghan president to visit Pakistan.

"Both leaders also agreed to remain engaged and create an environment for resolving all outstanding issues," the press release said.

The conversation between the two leaders comes as Khalilzad earlier today arrived in Pakistan as part of a regional tour to four countries for talks on the Afghan peace process.

According to the Foreign Office, the US special envoy is expected to meet Pakistan's civilian and military leaders during his stay and he will ask Pakistan to help convince the Afghan Taliban to come to the negotiating table. "Pakistan has also maintained [that] we want an Afghan-led Afghan-owned solution to [the] imbroglio," the FO spokesperson said in a statement.

Pakistan is believed to be making serious efforts to arrange a meeting between Khalilzad and Afghan Taliban leaders in Islamabad to help break the deadlock and speed up the Afghan peace process, Dawn reported.

The US envoy is actively trying to broker a political solution to the Afghan conflict and has held multiple meetings with the leadership of Afghanistan as well as that of other countries in the region, including Pakistan.

He has also held three rounds of talks with the Afghan Taliban in order to reach a settlement that would allow the US to withdraw its army and end a 17-year-old war — America's longest.