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Afghanistan hoping to improve its relations with Pakistan over the next few months: Ashraf Ghani

02 December, 2015

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KABUL: Afghanistan is hoping to improve its relations with Pakistan over the next few months as a prelude to a possible revival of peace talks with Taliban militants, President Ashraf Ghani has told a French television station.

Ghani was cautious about prospects for any quick breakthrough after years of what he called “an undeclared state of hostilities” between the two countries.

But he said he was considering an invitation to visit Pakistan next week. He said that with fighting normally slackening in the winter months, Pakistan could play a role in brokering contacts with Taliban fighters.

“The focus is to have a serious choreography where we can move in tandem and focus on resolution of the issues between now and the end of winter,” Ghani told France 24 television.

“Pakistan can be a broker. The trust needs to be earned.” The Taliban are currently split by fighting between rival factions but Ghani said elements might be willing to return to the peace table.

“There is no such thing as the Taliban after the death of Mullah Omar,” he said. “There are groups of Taliban and we will engage in talking with some of them and if some of them would like to come through the mediation of Pakistan, that’s something that we need to talk about,” he said.

Last week, the militant group said it had confirmed Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanekzai as head of its political office in Qatar, in a sign of a potential readiness to resume talks.

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