Trump asks Pakistan PM for help with Afghan peace talks

Defense Secretary-designate James Mattis listens to questions from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand D-N.Y. about his views on women and gays serving in the military during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Thursday Jan. 12 2

The overture to Khan represents a sea change from Trump's normally harsh rhetoric towards Pakistan, and will add to growing speculation that the United States is planning to pull out of Afghanistan in the near future.

Khalilzad has recently engaged the Taliban in direct talks to try to initiate Afghan peace negotiations.

"The letter also makes clear that Pakistan's assistance with the Afghan peace process is fundamental to building an enduring U.S. -Pakistan partnership", the White House official said. In the letter, Trump has asked Pakistan to play its role in Afghan peace talks which are aimed at catalysing an end to the 17-year invasion of Afghanistan by USA troops.

Last month, Trump had targeted Pakistan on Twitter and wrote, "We no longer pay Pakistan the $billions because they would take our money and do nothing for us, Bin Laden being a prime example, Afghanistan being another".

The rare contact between the two countries at the highest level comes as a Pakistan's traditionally tumultuous relationship with the United States has deteriorated over allegations the Taliban continues to use sanctuaries on Pakistani soil for attacks inside Afghanistan.

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"In this regard, he has sought Pakistan's support and facilitation", it continued. Trump wants to end a 17-year-old war between Afghan security forces and the Afghan Taliban militants, who are fighting to drive out global forces and establish their version of strict Islamic law.

"The United States remains committed to supporting the Afghan people's desire for peace, and to facilitating a political settlement between the Afghan government and the Taliban that ensures Afghanistan never serves as a platform for worldwide terrorism again", it added.

The US special representative to Afghanistan will meet Afghan government officials and other parties to work on Afghan peace process. Pakistan has always denied knowing he was there.

He said that a possible delay in elections will be a decision by Afghans.

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