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Afghan Taliban say will visit Pakistan if formally invited: BBC report

Afghan Taliban say will visit Pakistan if formally invited: BBC report

The Afghan Taliban have said that they will visit Pakistan and meet Prime Minister Imran Khan if they are formally invited for a meeting by Islamabad, BBC Urdu reported on Thursday, citing an official.

During his visit to the United States earlier this week, Prime Minister Imran had hinted at a meeting with the insurgents.

He had said he hoped that in the coming days, "we will be able to urge the Taliban to talk with the Afghan government and come to a political solution", a point that was promptly appreciated by US President Donald Trump — who noted that Pakistan had helped in the Afghan peace talks tremendously in recent weeks.

Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban's political office in Qatar, told the BBC via telephone that members of the group would go to Pakistan if invited by the government.

"We visit regional and neighbouring countries from time to time, so if Pakistan formally invites us we will go because Pakistan too is our neighbour and a Muslim country," he was quoted as saying in the report.

Shaheen dismissed the idea that a meeting with Pakistani authorities would entail allegations that the militant group has Pakistan's support, saying such allegations will be levelled by "only the people who have no other justification to fight the Taliban".

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