ISLAMABAD: The government has appointed a senior diplomat as its special ambassador to Kabul to spearhead efforts for starting intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at ending Washington’s longest war in Afghanistan.
Mohammad Sadiq Khan, who has served as Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2014, called on Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi soon after the announcement of his new assignment in Islamabad, a statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Saturday.
Khan, a former spokesman of the ministry, would play “an effective role in strengthening ties” between the two neighboring countries, the statement added.
Qureshi, in his remarks, said that Islamabad had sincerely played a reconciliatory role in the Afghan peace process and would continue to do the same in the future.
Khan possesses master’s degrees in political science from Peshawar University and International Affairs from Columbia University in New York City.
His appointment coincides with desperate attempts from Islamabad’s longtime ally, Washington, to court the warring Taliban to hold direct talks with Kabul government — a key component of a historic peace deal struck between the US and the Taliban in February.
In December 2018, Pakistan arranged rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for the Doha peace deal between the two sides.
Pakistan also facilitated the landmark first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015. That process broke down after the Taliban announced the death of their long-time leader Mullah Omar, triggering a bitter internal power struggle.