Afghan envoys pursues Taliban talks

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iol pic wld Afghanistan~7 AP File image - An Afghan policeman stands guard at the scene of a bomb attack in Kandahar, south of Kabul, Afghanistan.

Kabul - Afghanistan will continue to pursue peace talks with Taliban forces, an official envoy said Saturday after a visit to Pakistan where some captured insurgent leaders were freed this week.

Salahuddin Rabbani, chairman of the High Peace Council formed in 2010, claimed that “significant achievements” were made during his three-day visit.

“The aim of our visit to Pakistan was to attract Islamabad's support for the peace process in Afghanistan. And I can consider the results of the talks significant,” Rabbani said in Kabul.

Afghanistan has frequently demanded Pakistan's support in what it calls “peace negotiations with the Taliban and other Afghan armed opposition groups” by releasing captured insurgent leaders.

“By our efforts, Pakistani officials agreed to release nine Taliban leaders, which could be an important step towards cooperation in the peace talks,” Rabbani said.

Pakistani officials had said fewer than a dozen Afghan Taliban prisoners were released, while some local media reported as many as 13 insurgents were set free.

Rabbani also said Pakistan agreed to allow safe travel for the Taliban leaders, but did not clarify to which country.

“Provincial visits, especially to the southern provinces, will be our next step to make contacts with the people particularly the young and explain the aims of the peace council to them,” he said. - Sapa-dpa

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