Pakistan calls on Taliban to hold peace talks



ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s prime minister has called on the Taliban and other Afghan militant groups to participate in peace talks with the government in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s backing is considered critical because Islamabad has historical ties to the Taliban and much of the group’s leadership is believed to be based on its territory.

Pakistan has long said it supports an Afghan-led peace process.

But Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s statement on Friday was one of the government’s first appeals urging militants to participate in negotiations.

The Taliban have said they do not want to negotiate with the Afghan government, but would prefer to talk to the Americans.