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AFP
July 13, 2019

Pakistan joins US, China, Russia’s call

Top Story

AFP
July 13, 2019

WASHINGTON: Pakistan Friday joined the US, Russia and China, urging the Taliban to agree to a ceasefire and negotiations with Kabul.Pakistan joined the three powers in talks in Beijing that come as the United States moves closer to an agreement with the Taliban to pull troops from Afghanistan and end its longest-ever war.

The four countries "encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence leading to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations,” said a joint statement issued by the United States.

They called for direct negotiations involving the Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani´s government and other Afghans to “produce a peace framework as soon as possible.”

Members of the Taliban and government met earlier this week in Qatar, a breakthrough even though the participants were said to be there in a personal capacity.

The Taliban, believing they have an upper hand as they seek a US troop withdrawal, have refused to negotiate with Kabul or to halt their deadly campaign of attacks.

Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to visit Washington on July 22 to meet President Donald Trump, who is impatient to end the war launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.

US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has sought an understanding with Russia and China despite the two powers´ rivalries with the United States.