A delegation of Afghanistan’s High Council for National Reconciliation will arrive in Islamabad on a three-day visit Monday, according to the Foreign Office of Pakistan.
The delegation will be led by council head Abdullah Abdullah, a Foreign Office spokesperson said in a statement. This would be Abdullah’s first visit to Pakistan as the council head.
The delegation will hold key meetings, including with the president, prime minister, foreign minister and other high-ranking Pakistani officials.
The two sides are expected to discuss the Afghan peace process and Pak-Afghan bilateral relations.
Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an opinion piece for the Washington Times that they had arrived at a rare moment of hope for Afghanistan and the region.
He said the path they had travelled to get here wasn’t easy but they were able to press on thanks to the courage and flexibility that were on display from all sides.
PM Khan said the negotiations are likely to be even more difficult, requiring patience and compromise from all sides.
But, he said, the world would do well to remember that a bloodless deadlock on the negotiating table is infinitely better than a bloody stalemate on the battlefield.
Nineteen years since the US-led invasion that toppled the Taliban, Afghanistan’s war still kills dozens of people daily and the country’s economy has been devastated, pushing millions into poverty.
The Taliban want to reshape Afghanistan as an Islamic “emirate”, while the adminstration of President Ashraf Ghani wants to maintain the Western-backed status quo of a constitutional republic that has enshrined many rights, including greater freedoms for women.
A comprehensive peace deal could take years, and will depend on the willingness of both sides to tailor their competing visions for Afghanistan and the extent to which they can agree to share power.
Pakistan has also warned the international community against the role of spoilers poised to impair the hard-earned process for peace in Afghanistan.