Following Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan's first official trip to United States, the US Department of State has termed the premier's promise to urge the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government ‘an important step'.

Addressing a press briefing, US State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said that the initial meeting gave the chance for the US President Donald Trump and the secretary to meet with the premier ‘to build a personal connection and rapport'.

“I would note one of the things that the prime minister says that he vowed to urge the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan Government. We are committed to peace in Afghanistan.  We think that was an important step," Ortagus added.

She further said that numerous other issues were also discussed during the meeting and that ‘it is the time to build upon that meeting and to build upon those commitments'. On being asked about PM's statement on US hostages, the US department spokesperson said that US was working closely Pakistan to recover them. “We think his statements were helpful and we're of course hopeful that there will be some action preceeding those statements," he said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019