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, said on Monday.
Trump wants to end a 17-year-old war between Afghan security forces and the Afghan Taliban militants, 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.
“President Trump has written a letter,” Chaudhry told Reuters. “He has asked for Pakistan’s cooperation to bring the Taliban into talks.”
Trump told Khan the Pakistan relationship was very important to the United States and to finding a solution to the Afghanistan conflict, Chaudhry added.
Last month, Trump said in an interview Pakistan doesn’t “do a damn thing” for the United States 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.