PM says Pakistan to continue full support to Afghan people

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday reiterated Pakistan’s resolve to continue its full support and solidarity with Afghan people, as they march forward in their consequential journey for peace and development.

In a Facebook post, he said successful culmination of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is indispensable for Afghanistan and regional peace.

Also, Afghan Acting Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar appreciated Pakistan’s support for lasting peace in Afghanistan. In a tweet, he fully shared view of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and the Foreign Office of Pakistan that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan will bring new opportunities for progress and prosperity of not only Afghanistan but also the region.

Pakistan has taken a lead role to ensure peace in neighbouring Afghanistan as Washington and Kabul appreciated Islamabad’s efforts.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told The Nation that both the US and Afghanistan had acknowledged Pakistan’s efforts for peace in the war-torn country. “We have a key role. We did whatever we could for permanent peace in Afghanistan,” he said.

Pakistan, he said, had its own interest in regional peace. “A stable Afghanistan is in our interest. We have always supported the peace cause,” he added.

At the opening ceremony of the intra-Afghanistan talks in Doha over the weekend, top diplomats from several other countries, including the US, and representatives from global bodies such as the United Nations, made their opening remarks, many of them virtually because of the coronavirus restrictions.

In the negotiations that formally would begin on Monday (today), the Afghan sides are expected to tackle issues including terms of a permanent ceasefire, the rights of women and minorities, and the disarming of tens of thousands of Taliban fighters and militias loyal to warlords, some of them aligned with the government. They are also expected to discuss constitutional changes and power-sharing during the talks in Doha, where the Taliban maintains a political office.

The peace talks began a day after the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in the US, which triggered its military involvement in Afghanistan in 2001. Negotiations to broker a comprehensive peace deal were envisaged in a troop withdrawal pact signed between the US and the Taliban in February.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the talks were expected to be contentious, adding that the outcome was entirely up to the Afghans, and not the US.

“Each of you carry a great responsibility,” he told the participants. “You have an opportunity to overcome your divisions. We will undoubtedly counter many challenges in the talks over the coming days, weeks and months. Remember you are acting not only for this generation of Afghans but for future generations as well, your children and your grandchildren,” he said.

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