Tue Aug 21, 2018 | 06:53
Pakistan backs peace talks with Taliban
Sat, 16 Apr 2011 17:53:34 GMT
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Afghan President Hamid Karzai (R) welcomes Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani at the presidential palace in Kabul, April 16, 2011.
Pakistan and Afghanistan say they are both threatened by a common enemy and need to boost joint efforts to reach peace with Taliban militants.

Pakistan's Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, told Afghan President Hamed Karzai in Kabul that cooperation was required for the elimination of any terror.

"I have assured President Karzai that Pakistan strongly supports an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process for reconciliation and peace," Gilani said at a joint press conference in Kabul on Saturday.

Senior Pakistani officials have frequently said that efforts by the Afghan government to make peace with the Taliban would fail without the assistance of Islamabad.

Karzai, for his part, said Islamabad and Kabul have agreed to cooperate and reach a peace deal with the Taliban.

He recently formed a peace council to lead talks with the Taliban, naming former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani as chairman of the council.

The newly-established peace council has been making efforts to initiate dialogue with discontented Afghans and militants who have engaged in warfare with the government.

The council has expressed willingness to listen to the legitimate demands of the militants.

The development comes after senior officials in the US and the UK floated the idea of making peace with the Taliban, although the annihilation of militants was one of the main objectives of the 2001 US-led invasion.

Top militant commanders remain at large nine years after the invasion, which allegedly aimed to capture or kill al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Gilani dismissed reports that Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border are a safe haven for terrorists.

US President Barack Obama has frequently blamed Pakistan for not doing enough to fight terrorism in its troubled northwestern tribal belt along the Afghan border.

American aircraft frequently attack Pakistani tribal regions, targeting alleged militants but locals say civilians are the main victims of the unauthorized attacks.

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