Afghan-Taliban delegation meets Pakistan PM; discusses Afghan peace process

PTI, Dec 19, 2020, 11:57 AM IST

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday met a high-level delegation of the Afghan Taliban, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, and underscored Pakistan’s consistent support to an ”inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive” political settlement in the war-torn country.

The discussions between the Prime Minister and the Taliban Political Commission delegation focused on the progress in the Afghan peace process and the way forward, the PM Office said in a statement.

The visit of the Taliban Political Commission delegation is part of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to key Afghan parties in the Afghan peace process with a view to facilitating the Intra-Afghan Negotiations that commenced in Doha on September 12, 2020.Prime Minister Khan “underscored Pakistan’s consistent support to an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” according to the statement.

He also underlined ”the need to be vigilant about the role of spoilers, who continue to make attempts to disrupt and derail the peace process.”

Reiterating that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, Khan underlined that the Intra-Afghan Negotiations provide a historic opportunity to the Afghan leaders for achieving durable peace and stability through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

The prime minister expressed hope that the Afghan parties would continue to build on the recent positive developments in the Intra-Afghan Negotiations.

He also expressed concern over an increase in violence in Afghanistan and called on all sides for a reduction in the violence leading to a ceasefire.

He further said that return of peace and stability in Afghanistan would provide a strong impetus to economic development, regional integration, and connectivity, benefitting Afghanistan and the region.

The TPC arrived in Pakistan on December 16 on a three-day visit. Earlier, it met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

It is the second visit of the TPC delegation this year after it visited Pakistan in August.

The delegation is visiting Islamabad at a time when outgoing US President Donald Trump has ordered the withdrawal of more American soldiers from Afghanistan, leaving around 2,500 troops behind in the strife-torn country.

Afghanistan has been witnessing an increase in deadly attacks for the past few months, even as the Taliban and Afghan government negotiators hold talks in Qatar, trying to hammer out a peace deal that could put an end to decades of war.

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