Pak confirms attendance in next month's Afghan peace conference in Russia

Islamabad [Pakistan], Mar. 24 (ANI): Pakistan on Friday confirmed its participation in a multinational peace conference on Afghanistan to be held next month in Russia.

Foreign Office (FO) spokesman Nafees Zakaria said it had not yet been decided on what level Pakistan will participate in the conference, reports the Dawn.

He added that it was not clear whether the Afghan Taliban will attend the moot or not.

"Pakistan will continue its efforts for the establishment of peace in Afghanistan," said Zakaria.

He said that Pakistan had decided to open its borders with Afghanistan as a "goodwill gesture", adding that Afghanistan has been pressed to cooperate on border management.

Afghanistan, Iran, India and several Central Asian nations are among the invitees to the Moscow conference. The United States has turned down the Russian invitation to attend the event.

The Pakistani officials had last week hosted seven Taliban leaders in Islamabad to try to press the insurgents into peace talks ahead of the Moscow meeting.

Last year, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the United States met to begin the peace process but that effort faltered after a series of deadly Kabul attacks that Afghanistan blamed on militants hiding in Pakistan.

Despite their refusal to talk to the Afghan Government, the Taliban officials have held meetings with many others travelling several times to China, opening talks with Russia and Iran, and also attended conferences in Japan and in Europe. (ANI)