Trump thanks Pak & Afghan for releasing hostages

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Prime Minister Imran Khan during a meeting on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York September 23. — AFP  File

Trump thanks Pak & Afghan for releasing hostages

The two leaders further agreed to remain in close contact, according to PM Office.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed Jammu and Kashmir matter with US President Donald Trump urging him to "continue his efforts for the facilitation of a peaceful solution of the Jammu and Kashmir matter".

The US President Donald Trump has thanked Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani for ensuring release of foreign hostages. Apprising his USA counterpart of the ongoing situation in India-held Kashmir, P.M. Khan stressed that over 8 million residents of the disputed territory had been under siege at the hands of New Delhi's armed forces for over 100 days now.

"The two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening the bilateral trade relationship, which is on track to set a new record this year, as well as investment and people-to-people ties between our countries", White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

During the phone call, Imran Khan termed the release of two Western hostages by the Taliban in Afghanistan as a "positive development", saying Pakistan was happy that the duo was safe and free.

Former military leaders who served in Afghanistan have repeatedly warned Trump that failure to involve the Afghan administration in negotiations will boost the morale of the Taliban, which has frequently refused to hold direct talks with Kabul.

The Palace spokesman Sediqqi tweeted that President Ghani briefed Trump about his "seven-point peace plan" for the Afghan government, and US President emphasized the need for a ceasefire as a precondition for peace. India has constructed Afghanistan's new parliament building and also wooed Afghans with its soft power, including Bollywood films.

The US and the Taleban had been talking in a bid to put an end to the 18-year-long Afghan conflict for nearly a year before the talks were called off by Mr Trump in September at what was reported to be the last minute.

The Taliban group had also expressed hopes that the prisoner swap would aid peace process.

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