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Afghan peace council head says Pakistan will help bring Taliban to the negotiating table

The leader of an Afghan peace council says Pakistan's decision to free nine Taliban prisoners is a sign that Islamabad is willing to help push the militant group to the negotiating table and end the war.

Pakistan's cooperation is seen as key to the Afghan peace process. Islamabad has longstanding ties to the Taliban and other Afghan factions, and the U.S. accuses the country of continuing to back insurgent groups and offering sanctuary to their leaders.

Salahuddin Rabbani, the head of the Afghan government's High Peace Council, said Saturday that he's confident that Pakistani officials are genuinely interested in pushing negotiations with the Taliban.

During the council's trip to Islamabad this week, Pakistan released nine Taliban prisoners and pledged to free others who have shown an interest in talking peace.