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'Pak-Afghan-US trilateral forum being revived after nearly seven-months of deadlock'

Islamabad, Sat, 24 Mar 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Mar 24 (ANI): Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States are set to revive trilateral talks after a nearly seven-month deadlock, Afghan diplomats and foreign ministry officials have said.

Officials from the three countries last met in Islamabad in September last year, a few days before the tragic assassination of Afghan peace envoy Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani.

Kabul had suspended high-level contacts with Islamabad, saying the killing was planned in Pakistan and carried out by a Pakistani suicide bomber. Islamabad had dismissed the charges as baseless and assured cooperation in a joint probe. The Afghan reconciliation process also hit a stumbling block when Pakistani-US relations hit an all-time low after US air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November last year.

However, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar's visit to Kabul and President Hamid Karzai's trip to Islamabad last month marked the revival of high-level contacts between the two countries and now senior diplomats from the two countries and the US are scheduled to meet in Tajikistan on March 25 (Sunday), The Express Tribune quoted an Afghan diplomat and a foreign ministry official, as saying.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said that the talks have not yet been resumed and the Taliban still await a 'positive' response to their three major demands.

Listing the demands, he said the Taliban have proposed the release of some of their prisoners, removal of Taliban leaders' names from the UN sanctions lists and recognition of the Taliban political office in Qatar.

"The US must show a positive response to our demands to build trust," the Taliban spokesman added. (ANI)

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