KABUL - The Afghan government is seeking Pakistan’s cooperation in extending a temporary truce that it recently announced with the Taliban, hoping that the move will pave the way for direct talks with the group, Afghan Interior Minister Wais Ahmad Barmak said on Thursday.

The request was made on Tuesday during the visit of a Pakistani military delegation that coincided with Kabul’s declaration of the truce, Barmak added, reported Arab News. “There is hope that with the talks that we had with the Pakistani delegation, the truce will prolong,” he said. “We asked them to cooperate in the extension of the truce between us and the Taliban and other groups, and provide the means for talks.”

Barmak did not comment on Pakistan’s response to the request. Afghanistan has long accused Pakistan of sponsoring and sheltering the Taliban and other militant groups, which Islamabad denies.

Kabul hopes that the Taliban will abide by its pledge of a three-day truce, which will start on the first day of Eidul Fitr and came in response to the government’s truce, Barmak said. There were a number of Taliban attacks against government forces in various parts of the country in the past three days since Kabul announced its unilateral truce, he added.

While conceding government losses in those attacks, he denied reports that the toll stood at nearly 100.

Mullah Abdul Salaam Zaeef, who was ambassador to Pakistan under the Taliban government, said the truce is the start of a “big process,” and expressed hope that it will be extended.

In an Eid message, Taliban leader Mullah Hebatullah Akhundzada said the group’s fight is to end the US military presence in Afghanistan. The only way to save the country is for the US military and “other occupying forces” to leave Afghanistan so an independent, Islamic govt “can take root,” he added.

The Taliban have “kept the doors of understanding and negotiations open,” he said, urging the US to hold direct talks with the group. If the US believes in a peaceful resolution, it must resolve the crisis through dialogue, Akhundzada added.