Considered as second home for Afghans, Afghan Taliban speak of relations with Pakistan if came to power

Considered as second home for Afghans, Afghan Taliban speak of relations with Pakistan if came to power
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ISLAMABAD - Afghan Taliban have spoken about relations with Pakistan after coming into power in Kabul.

In an exclusive interview with *DawnNewsTV*, Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid has said that if the Taliban do end up having a say in the Afghan polity one day, they will approach Pakistan "as a brother and a neighbour", seeking "comprehensive ties based on mutual respect, just as we seek such relations with all other neighbours."

He acknowledged that Pakistan had remained "the most important hub" for Afghan refugees during the Soviet invasion, and that it was even considered a "second home" by Afghans.

Speaking to *DawnNewsTV*, Mujahid also outlined the motivation for talks with the US, the conditions in which they are prepared to negotiate and their vision for a new political order, while insisting that the Taliban are holding talks with the United States "on their own initiative".

Responding to a question regarding the timing of the talks, Mujahid explained that, even prior to the US invasion, the Taliban had asked Washington to engage in dialogue instead of war.

He added that they had eventually even opened a political office in Doha in 2013 for this purpose, but Washington had been unwilling to negotiate at the time.

The spokesperson said that now that the US is willing to talk, they have decided to engage with them.

On a question regarding Pakistan role in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table, Mujahid said: "There is no role being played by any outside country. This has always been our own initiative and policy."

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Kabul