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Trump asks Pakistan's Khan to help with Taliban talks following verbal spat
04 December 2018, 09:12 | Erica Roy
Why has Donald Trump just written a personal letter to Imran Khan?
US President Donald Trump sent a letter to Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan requesting his country's help to end the almost two-decades long conflict in Afghanistan, just weeks after engaging in a Twitter spat with the Pakistani leader.
Trump's letter is a clear admission that without the support of Pakistan, it is impossible for any forward movement on Afghanistan, a fact that the Kabul administration has admitted from time to time, and a far cry from the angry Tweets that Trump had directed towards Pakistan.
Mr Khan at the time stressed the United States had provided what he described as a minuscule 20 billion U.S. dollars in aid to Pakistan.
Trump wants to end a 17-year-old war between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, who are fighting to drive out worldwide forces and establish their version of strict Islamic law.
Pakistani media outlets, whose reporters met with Khan, quoted him as saying Pakistan would continue its efforts to help peace in Afghanistan.
The US president has also sought Islamabad's assistance to bring Taliban leadership to the negotiating table.
"He has asked for Pakistan's cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks", Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told Reuters.
Trump told Khan the Pakistan relationship was very important to Washington and to finding a solution to the Afghanistan conflict, Chaudhry added.
Trump has been open about his desire to bring home about 14,000 US troops who remain in Afghanistan as part of Resolute Support and a separate counter-terrorism mission aimed against militant groups such as al Qaeda and Islamic State.
It said Mr Trump acknowledged the war has cost dearly both the United State and Pakistan.
A Foreign Office statement confirmed the contents of the letter, adding that President Trump emphasized that Pakistan and U.S. should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership. Pakistan reiterated its commitment to play a facilitation role in good faith. "Peace and stability in Afghanistan remains a shared responsibility".
US envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was expected in Pakistan this week during his visit to the region to revive peace talks with the Taliban.
He recently expressed hopes that a peace deal to end the war could be struck before the Afghan presidential election, scheduled for April.
USA special envoy for Afghanistan peace, Zalmay Khalilzad, is due to arrive in Islamabad this week to further his mission of encouraging the insurgents to engage in an intra-Afghan peace dialogue to find a negotiating end to the conflict that has also caused record civilian casualties this year.
Khalilzad on Sunday began an eight-country tour, which includes Pakistan, Russia and Qatar, to promote peace and convince the Taliban to join negotiations. "President Trump has written a letter".
The US embassy in Islamabad had no immediate comment on the letter.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa had also highlighted Pakistan's efforts in the war against terrorism and for regional peace, saying the country "has done much more for peace in Afghanistan than any other country".
Pakistani officials, who deny offering safe havens to the Afghan Taliban, say their influence on the group has waned over the years.
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
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