Senior Afghan leader Abdullah Abdullah says his government will begin peace talks with the Taliban "in the near future."

Speaking to Cabinet members Monday, Abdullah said Pakistani officials had told Taliban leaders to begin peace talks with the Afghan government. Local media reported the comments, which were confirmed to The Associated Press by an official in his office.

"Pakistani officials said they have told the Taliban that their only option now is to hold peace talks with the Afghan government, and this is what we have been waiting to hear," Abdullah, who is chief executive in a national unity government, was quoted as saying.

Brokering a peace deal with the insurgents after more than a decade of war is a priority for President Ashraf Ghani, who took office in September.