Trump thanks PM Imran for facilitating Western hostages' release in Afghanistan

Published November 21, 2019
US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, September 23. — AFP/File
US President Donald Trump (R) shakes hands with Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, September 23. — AFP/File

Prime Minister Imran Khan had a telephonic conversation with US President Donald Trump on Thursday during which bilateral and regional issues were discussed, a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office said.

During the phone call, Prime Minister Imran termed the release of two Western hostages by the Taliban in Afghanistan as a "positive development", saying Pakistan was happy that the duo was safe and free.

"President Trump thanked the prime minister for Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating this positive outcome," the statement said.

Prime Minister Imran reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the advancement of the Afghan peace and reconciliation process aimed at achieving a stable Afghanistan. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together for the promotion of this shared objective, according to the press release.

The Taliban insurgents had released two hostages — Kevin King from the United States and Timothy Weeks from Australia — on Tuesday in a prisoner exchange deal with the Afghan government.

The American and Australian were exchanged with three Taliban leaders, including key militant figure Anas Haqqani.

The prime minister during the conversation also apprised President Trump of the prevailing situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir, where he said more than eight million people remain under siege over 100 days after New Delhi revoked the region's special autonomy.

The premier appreciated President Trump’s continued engagement as well as his offer to mediate the Kashmir dispute. "Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that the President must continue his efforts for [the] facilitation of a peaceful solution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute," the statement said.

Recalling their meetings in Washington and New York earlier this year, Trump and Imran agreed to "deepen bilateral collaboration, including in relevant multilateral fora".

The two leaders also agreed to remain in close touch, the press release added.

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