Trump asks Pakistan PM for help with Afghan peace talks: minister

Pakistan information minister says Trump sent letter to PM Imran Khan seeking help with Afghan peace talks.

Imran Khan
Trump sent the letter to Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan, according to the South Asian nation's information minister, Fawad Chaudhry [Shakil Adil/AP]

US President Donald Trump has sought Pakistan‘s help with Afghan peace talks in a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, the South Asian nation’s information minister, Fawad Chaudhry, has said.

“President Trump has written a letter,” Chaudhry told Reuters news agency on Monday. “He has asked for Pakistan’s cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks.”

Trump told Khan the Pakistan relationship was very important to Washington and to finding a solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, Chaudhry added.

The US embassy in Islamabad had no immediate comment on the letter.

Trump wants to end a 17-year war between Afghan security forces and the Taliban, who are fighting to drive out international forces and establish their version of strict Islamic law.

US officials have long been pushing Pakistan to lean on the Taliban leadership, which Washington says is based in the country, to bring them to the negotiating table.

Reporting from Islamabad, Al Jazeera’s Kamal Hyder said that Pakistan has some leverage over the Afghan Taliban, who are winning the war in Afghanistan.

“They have most of the territory under their control and they are still demanding the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan,” he said. “It is going to be interesting to see whether they will listen to Pakistan.”

“Pakistan, of course, are saying they will do whatever is possible,” Hyder added. They have said all along that the negotiations in Afghanistan have to be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.”

Last month, Trump said in an interview Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the US despite billions of dollars in US aid, adding that Pakistani officials knew of former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden‘s location before his killing by US troops in a 2011 raid inside Pakistan.

Last week, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said he had formed a 12-strong team to negotiate peace with the Taliban, but warned that implementation of any deal would take at least five years.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies