Pakistan stresses need for intra-Afghan dialogue to end war

Cheryl Sanders
June 24, 2019

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will address the inaugural session of the conference, which will be attended by heads of political parties and political stalwarts from Afghanistan.

"The Afghan peace process has reached a promising but delicate stage".

She said no country other than Pakistan has suffered more from war and foreign intervention in Afghanistan.

"For far too long, the vicious circle of mistrust, often fed into by our common enemies, has affected our relationship". The six rounds held so far have remained stalemated because of Taliban's refusal to talk to the Afghan government until the USA gives a clear commitment and timeframe for withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan.

Hezb-e-Islami leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has praised Pakistan's role in the ongoing peace process for his country and has said that "Pakistan could play a key role in bringing peace in Afghanistan and now they are doing it".

The Taliban have refused to sit with government representatives but say they will sit with any Afghan, even a government official, but as an ordinary Afghan and not as a government representative.

The Taliban maintains its negotiations with US interlocutors are focused on the troop withdrawal in return for assurances insurgent-controlled Afghan areas would not be allowed to become safe haven for transnational terrorists. 57 other Afghan leaders accompanied Hekmatyar during his visit for a peace conference. It was not clear whether the Qatari leader's visit was timed to coincide with the Afghan leaders peace conference in Islamabad or was a coincidence. Different aspects of Afghan security will also be reviewed in the conference.

"The renewed push for peace has created a new opportunity and every effort must be made to seize it. It is indispensable to move away from this negative paradigm".

The foreign minister underscored the need for the two countries to take "practical steps" to ease mutual tensions and build mutual trust to work jointly for regional economic and political stability.

There are no representatives of the Taliban at Saturday's conference, held near the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

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