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Trump letter to Imran Khan asking for help with Afghan peace: White House

05 December, 2018

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Confirming US President Donald Trump’s attempt to reach out to Pakistan to end the war in Afghanistan, US Defence Secretary James Mattis has called for the international community to help end the war in Afghanistan and aid regional leaders in their efforts to bridge longstanding disagreements, saying that conflicts in Afghanistan have now gone on for “40 years.” Mattis was speaking to the media while receiving his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman to the Pentagon. He said that Washington was doing its best to protect Afghan people as its diplomats were working to end the war.

The White House also confirmed a letter, President Donald Trump wrote to Prime Minister Imran Khan, asking for Pakistan’s help with faltering Afghan peace talks.

A senior Trump administration official said the president sought “Pakistan’s full support” for the US effort to advance the Afghan peace process. At the Pentagon, Mattis was specifically asked if Washington had more confidence in Pakistan’s willingness to help with Afghan peace process. “It’s gone on now, it’s approaching 40 years, 40 years is enough and it’s time for everyone to get on board,” Mattis told a reporter. “All stakeholders are trying to maintain peace and make for a better world here. So we are on that track. It is diplomatically led, as it should be, and we’ll do our best to protect the Afghan people as the diplomats work support to end the war,” the defence secretary added.

Trump has appointed Afghan-born US diplomat Zalmay Khalilzad as special envoy tasked with pushing through the peace talks.

The administration official, who did not want to be identified, told Reuters that Trump requested “Pakistan’s full support” for the US effort to advance the Afghan peace process and for Khalilzad’s trip to the region.

Separately, China welcomed on Tuesday, “the sound interactions between Pakistan and the US”, stressing that the relations between Islamabad and Washington were “conducive to the large picture of the international counter-terrorism campaign”. At a daily briefing at the Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China was happy to see the improvement of Pakistan-US relations and “support the equal-footed and mutually beneficial cooperation” between the two countries.

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