Pakistan Calls For Afghan Taliban To Enter Peace Talks

The Prime Minister of Pakistan today made the first public call from his government appealing for the Afghan Taliban, which has deep ties to Pakistan, to enter into peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.- and Western-backed government. “I would like to appeal to the Taliban leadership as well as to all other Afghan groups, including Hezb-i-Islami, to participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace,” said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, adding that Pakistan would do “whatever it can” to aid the process. In comments to the Washington Post, a senior official from the Taliban-allied Hezb-i-Islami group welcomed the appeal, but rejected U.S. or other foreign participation in talks.