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Pakistan urges US, Taliban to re-engage in Afghan peace process

September 9, 2019
 

Pakistan has urged the United States and the Taliban to “re-engage to find [a] negotiated peace from the ongoing political settlement process” in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Office of Pakistan said late Sunday that it had learnt about the cancellation of US President Donald Trump’s meeting with the Taliban and Afghan government representatives at Camp David.

Trump last week cancelled peace negotiations with the Taliban after the group said they were behind an attack in Kabul that killed a US soldier and 11 other people.

The US president said he had invited Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani for talks Sunday at the Camp David presidential retreat on a draft deal that would see the United States withdraw thousands of troops and wind down its longest-ever war.

“Pakistan has always condemned violence and called on all sides for restraint and commitment to pursue the process,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Islamabad said it had been facilitating the peace and reconciliation process in good faith and as a shared responsibility, and had encouraged all sides to remain engaged with sincerity and patience.

The statement said the country would continue to monitor the developments, reiterating that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.

“Pakistan looks for optimised engagement following [the] earliest resumption of talks,” it added.

The talks between the US and the Taliban appeared to be on the brink of a landmark deal to bring an end to 18 years of war.

Veteran US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad had spent a year meeting with the Taliban, who said that Trump showed “neither experience nor patience”.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid warned in a statement that “Americans will be harmed more than any other” by Trump’s decision.

But he added that the Taliban still believed “that the American side will come back to this position” of talks that seek “the complete end of the occupation.”

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