Pakistan welcomes Ghani's dialogue offer to Taliban

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif

The recent attacks have underscored the weaknesses of Afghan security forces more than 16 years after the USA -led invasion toppled the Taliban.

It's far from certain the Taliban would accept such an offer.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, TOLO News reported.

Welcoming Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's offer of talks with the Taliban, a Chinese foreign ministry's spokesperson said on Thursday that China was willing to assist the Afghan reconciliation process. The following year, Omar's successor, Mullah Akthar Muhammad Mansour, was killed in a US drone strike along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

"The Taliban has to abandon terror, it has to abandon violence and it has to support the Afghan constitution".

Still, Reuters reports that Ghani, who has been backed by a recently escalated military effort by the US, said he would not "pre-judge" any group interested in pursuing peace - and according to The Associated Press, he vowed to "consider the Taliban's view in the peace talks".

The comments, a month after a suicide attack in central Kabul killed around 100 people, represented a change in tone for Mr Ghani, who has regularly called the Taliban "terrorists" and "rebels".

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However the group's spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid criticised The Kabul Process, tweeting that the conference sought the Taliban's "surrender".

Earlier, Danish had said the explosion took place "in" the vehicle, which he initially said belonged to an worldwide contractor.

The Trump administration rejected the Taliban proposal, with State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert saying: "Any peace talks with Afghanistan have to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned".

The Taliban said in the statement the US must recognize that the conflict can not be solved militarily.

Votel said to date Pakistan has also been reimbursed hundreds of millions of dollars in Coalition Support Funds (CSF) for counter-insurgency operations that support USA security objectives in the region.

"We are now beginning to see very positive indicators that they are moving in the right direction", he said.

General Joseph Votel's remarks came as the United States has stepped up pressure on Pakistan to do more in its fight against terrorism.

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