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US vice president urges Pakistan to ‘do more’ against Taliban

WASHINGTON: US Vice President Mike Pence told Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi that his country “must do more” against the Taliban and other militants, the White House said on Saturday.

“Vice President Pence reiterated President (Donald) Trump’s request that the Government of Pakistan must do more to address the continued presence of the Taliban, Haqqani Network, and other terrorist groups operating in their country,” the White House said in a statement on the Friday call.

“Pakistan could and should work closer with the United States,” Pence said.

According to Washington, there is little sign that Islamabad has made a decision to end its support for the Taliban, which the country’s powerful security services see as safeguarding its interests and as a bulwark against Indian influence in Kabul.

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani last month proposed peace talks with the Taliban, which could eventually be recognized as a political party if it observes a ceasefire and officially recognizes the Afghan government and constitution.

The Taliban has stopped short of rejecting the proposal, but its response has been muted.

Afghan president invites PM Abbasi for talks to repair relations

President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani has extended an official invitation to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to visit Afghanistan.

In a tweet on social media, he said that the invitation would initiate state-to-state comprehensive dialogue between the two countries.

Ghani made this tweet following a meeting between delegations of two countries. The Pakistani delegations led by Security Adviser Nasser Khan Janjua expressed its strong support for the Afghan government’s peace offer to Taliban saying Islamabad is committed to cooperation in this regard.

The support was expressed by Janjua in delegation level talks with his Afghan counterpart Hanif Atmar in Kabul on Saturday.

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