United States President Donald Trump, on Thursday, thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for Islamabad’s efforts to secure the release of the western hostages in the custody of the Afghan Taliban earlier this week.
A press communique issued by the Prime Minister’s office revealed that the Premier had a telephonic conversation with the US President, who thanked Pakistan for its efforts in securing the western hostages.
Trump Thanks Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan and Donald Trump had a wide-range discussion on bilateral relations and regional issues. The two leaders agreed to maintain close contact, and continue to join efforts to promote their shared objective of peace in Afghanistan.
US President Donald Trump’s call arrived two days after the American and Australian hostages, Kevin King and Timothy Weeks respectively, were exchanged for the release of three Taliban commanders, who were detained by the Afghan government. Reports reveal that the successful completion of this hostage exchange is likely to revive the peace process.
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The press release stated, “The US president thanked the prime minister for Pakistan’s efforts in facilitating this positive outcome. He conveyed that the release of Western hostages in Afghanistan was a positive development and Pakistan was happy that they were safe and free.”
The Prime Minister’s Office added, “The Prime Minister reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to the advancement of Afghan peace and reconciliation process for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan. Both leaders agreed to continue to work together for the promotion of this shared objective.”
Pak welcomes release of Profs Kevin King & Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan. We appreciate steps taken by all involved to make it possible. As part of the int community working to bring peace & end the suffering of the Afghan people, Pak has fully supported & facilitated this release
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 19, 2019
Prime Minister Imran Khan also apprised the US President on the prevailing situation in Indian-occupied Jammu & Kashmir, underscoring that more than 8 million people have remained under siege for more than 100 days now. The PM Office stated, “Appreciating President Trump’s continued engagement as well as mediation offer, Prime Minister Imran Khan stressed that the President must continue his efforts for the facilitation of a peaceful solution of the Jammu & Kashmir dispute.”
The two leaders recalled their conversations during Prime Minister Khan’s visit to the White House, and later at the United Nations General Assembly session in New York, and agreed to deepen their bilateral collaboration, including in relevant multilateral fora.
The Afghan Taliban, on Tuesday, freed American hostage Kevin King and Australian hostage Timothy Weeks after detaining them for over three years as part of a deal that witnessed three Taliban commanders, including the brother of Siraj Haqqani, the supremo of the militant organization, freed from Afghan custody.
The Taliban has released two Western professors held hostage for the past three years in exchange for three high-ranking militants https://t.co/hYNd3SOVse pic.twitter.com/wkKimbkp9y
— CNN Breaking News (@cnnbrk) November 19, 2019
Kevin King and Timothy Weeks had been kidnapped in August 2016, from outside the American University of Afghanistan, where they worked as professors. On November 12, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced the decision to free Anas Haqqani and two other Taliban commanders in exchange for the release of the western hostages.
Prime Minister Imran Khan hailed the decision to release the hostages and expressed optimism that this step will strengthen the spirit of the peace process, encouraging all parties to gain more confidence and re-engage in the efforts for peace.
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In a tweet, the Premier said, “Pakistan welcomes release of professors Kevin King and Timothy Weeks in Afghanistan.”
“We appreciate steps taken by all involved to make it possible. As part of the international community working to bring peace & end the suffering of the Afghan people, Pakistan has fully supported & facilitated this release.”
as part of its policy of supporting initiatives for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict. We hope this step gives a boost of confidence to all parties involved to re-engage in the peace process. Pakistan remains committed to facilitating this peace process.
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 19, 2019
The Premier continued, “As part of its policy of supporting initiatives for a negotiated political settlement of the Afghan conflict. We hope this step gives a boost of confidence to all parties involved to re-engage in the peace process. Pakistan remains committed to facilitating this peace process.”