Afghan President Hamid Karzai, says Pakistan has an “important” role to play in peace talks with the Taliban.

Mr. Karzai’s statement on Thursday during a joint press conference with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, could be meant to counter speculation that the Afghan government was trying to sideline Pakistan.

Mr. Karzai has made a renewed push for reconciliation talks with Taliban militants and plans to hold a peace conference in Afghanistan in April.

Pakistan has historic ties to the Taliban, having helped the group seize power in Afghanistan in the 1990s. But some analysts have speculated that Afghanistan would prefer to leave Pakistan out of peace talks because it does not trust the neighbouring country’s motives.

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