Af-Pak Appeal to Taliban to Join Peace Talks

Af-Pak Appeal to Taliban to Join Peace TalksAf-Pak Appeal to Taliban to Join Peace Talks

The foreign ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan appealed to Taliban militants to join peace talks following a meeting Tuesday organized by China to mend strained relations between the two governments.

In a joint statement, the three governments called for a “broad-based and inclusive peace and reconciliation process” following near-daily Taliban attacks in areas across Afghanistan. The three governments said they “call on the Afghan Taliban to join the peace process at an early date,” ABC News reported.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are at odds over American and Afghan accusations that Islamabad is harboring some of the fiercest factions of the Taliban, which was overthrown as the Afghan government in 2001 by a US invasion. Those include the Haqqani group, which the US government has declared a terrorist organization.

“Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed to improve their relations as soon as possible,” said the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. “The two sides unanimously expressed the point that they will not allow any party or force to use their territories to engage in the activities that would undermine the security of the other side.”

The talks reflected Beijing’s efforts to expand its political and diplomatic role in the region. Chinese leaders also are uneasy about the potential for militant activity in Afghanistan and elsewhere in Central Asia to spill across the border into China’s Muslim northwest.

The Taliban have stepped up attacks across Afghanistan since the United States and its NATO allies concluded their combat mission at the end of 2014. The insurgents have gained ground across several provinces and increasingly launch attacks in urban centers.


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