Thu, 22 Aug 2019

The Taliban may soon release two hostages who were captured in August 2016, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said during a three-day visit to Washington.

He told U.S. President Donald Trump that Islamabad will have "good news' soon about American Kevin King and Australian Timothy Weeks.

Both taught at the American University in Kabul.

Speaking at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington on July 23, Khan said he plans to meet with the Taliban to persuade the militant group to hold talks with the Western-backed Afghan government in an attempt to end the nearly 18-year war.

'I will meet the Taliban and I will try my best to get them to talk to the Afghan government,' Khan said.

Khan held talks with Trump at the White House on July 22 and met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on July 23, with Washington hopeful that Islamabad can help it find a way out of the conflict.

Pompeo's spokesman, Morgan Ortagus, acknowledged "Pakistan's significant role in supporting the Afghan peace process and counterterrorism," in a July 23 statement.

Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan, is on his way to Kabul at the start of his latest peace mission as the war in the country has heated up in recent weeks.

Based on reporting by AP

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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