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Pakistan's Khan Says Will Try To Persuade Taliban To Agree Talks With Kabul

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan says he will meet with the Taliban in an effort to persuade the militant group to hold talks with the Afghan government in a bid to end the nearly 18-year war.

"I will meet the Taliban and I will try my best to get them to talk to the Afghan government," Khan said during a talk at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington on July 23.

Khan held talks with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House on July 22 and met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on July 23 for talks that focused on Afghanistan.

The United States and the Taliban have held eight rounds of peace talks in Qatar since September, with both sides reporting progress on a possible agreement centered on a U.S. pledge to withdraw troops in exchange for a Taliban promise not to let Afghanistan be used as a base for terrorism.

The Taliban has refused to negotiate directly with the Western-backed government in Kabul, calling it illegitimate.

Taliban delegates and dozens of Afghans, some of them government officials, met for informal talks from July 7-8. The sides reached a nonbinding road map for a future political settlement.

Pakistan has helped to broker the U.S.-Taliban peace negotiations.

The United States and Afghanistan have long accused Pakistan of supporting the Taliban, a charge Islamabad denies.

Khan said on July 22 that his government was committed to a negotiated end to the war in Afghanistan.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP