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Afghan president thanks Pakistani PM for hosting first official Kabul-Taliban talks

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Afghan president has thanked Pakistan's prime minister for hosting the first official face-to-face talks between the Kabul government and the Taliban.

According to a statement Friday from Ashraf Ghani's office, the Afghan president met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of a summit in Russia.

Ghani praised Pakistan's efforts and reiterated his own priorities to have a "permanent peace in Afghanistan."

The statement says Ghani also told Sharif their two countries are at an important moment in their relations. Ghani has in the past sought Pakistan's help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.

Sharif earlier described the Kabul-Taliban talks, which were held Tuesday evening at a Pakistani government rest house outside Islamabad, as "a major breakthrough."

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