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Pakistan Urges Taliban To Join Peace Talks

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has publicly called on the Taliban and other militant groups in Afghanistan to join peace talks with the Afghan government.

Gilani said on February 24 that the Taliban leadership, as well as militant groups like Hizb-e-Islami, should "participate in an intra-Afghan process for national reconciliation and peace."

Afghan President Hamid Karzai this week invited the Taliban for direct peace talks and urged Pakistan to help make negotiations possible.

The Taliban, whose representatives have joined confidence-building talks in Qatar with U.S. officials, has publicly rejected the idea of talks with Karzai's government as long as there are foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Islamabad's apparent increased support for Afghan reconciliation comes a day after Pakistan's foreign minister met in London with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Based on Reuters, AP, and AFP reports