Pakistan, US stress need for political settlement between Afghan govt, Taliban

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the United States of America Tuesday emphasised the urgency of a comprehensive political settlement between the Afghan government and the Afghan Taliban.

The statement came following a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and
US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.

Khalilzad also held a meeting with the Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

The exchange of views covered the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and the need for expediting the Afghan peace process. Khalilzad arrived on a one-day visit to the region. Piror to visiting Pakistan, Khalilzad also attended a round of talks between the Afghan government and Taliban delegations in Doha, Qatar.

TALKS ENDED WITHOUT A BREAKTHROUGH: 

Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating peace efforts for achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to end over four decades-long conflicts in Afghanistan.

He said that the escalation of conflict and instability in Afghanistan was not in Pakistan’s interest as it would lead to serious challenges for Pakistan in areas of security and influx of refugees adding that durable peace in Afghanistan would open avenues for regional economic connectivity.

The PM recalled that he has consistently emphasized that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. He added that the imposition of a government by force will not lead to the resolution of the conflict and that only a negotiated settlement will bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, the Prime Minister underlined that a secure and safe Western border was in Pakistan’s own best interest and Pakistan would like to remain closely engaged with the US and other relevant countries for peace efforts.

He emphasized the need for all Afghan sides to show flexibility and engage meaningfully with each other.

Prime Minister Imran Khan added that as suggested by him at the recent Central Asia and South Asia Connectivity Conference in Tashkent, it was important for Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional countries to constructively work together for a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan.

Zalmay Khalilzad said the continued war in Afghanistan poses a risk to the entire region and holds back its development. Peace, by contrast, will enable regional connectivity and increased trade and development.

“We commit to do our part to make this vision a reality: Tangible and material support for the Afghanistan peace process is vital for its ultimate success, as are positive long-term relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he concluded.

Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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