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US Urges Pakistan, Afghanistan to Cooperate to Defeat Extremism

Afghan policemen keep watch at the site of an attack after an overnight battle outside a base in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 8, 2015.

The United States is calling on both Afghanistan and Pakistan to work together to defeat violent extremism, hoping recent Taliban attacks will not set back efforts aimed at promoting Afghan peace and reconciliation.

State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters that Washington does not have “specific intelligence” to conclude whether Pakistan was involved in recent deadly attacks on the Afghan side of the border.

He was speaking just hours after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani directly blamed Pakistan for being behind the weekend and Monday's suicide bombings in Kabul.

“It is in the urgent interest of both countries to eliminate safe havens and to reduce the operational capacity of the Taliban on both sides of the border,” Kirby said.

He added Washington hopes the insurgent violence would not derail efforts aimed at seeking an end to the Afghan conflict through peaceful negotiations.

“We certainly want to see a political reconciliation process move forward. We want to see peace. And recent participation in those reconciliation talks as of a few weeks ago was certainly an encouraging sign… we want to see this progress,” Kirby said.

Chinese and U.S. officials attended as “observers” the Pakistan-hosted inaugural peace talks between Afghan government and Taliban envoys on July 7.

A second round of the negotiations was scheduled for July 31 but the Taliban pulled out from the process at the last moment after acknowledging its longtime leader, Mullah Omar, died.

In his address Monday, President Ghani also announced Afghanistan alone will initiate future moves on reconciliation with the Taliban, "according to our own ways and mechanism." He went to on say that Kabul does not want Islamabad to bring the Taliban to the peace talks but to halt those waging the insurgency against Afghanistan.

Ayaz Gul contributed to this report from Islamabad.