Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who is heading the 12-member delegation of Afghan Taliban visiting Pakistan, was received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on his arrival to the Foreign Office Thursday morning.
Representatives from the Afghan Taliban and Pakistan held a meeting in order to revive the failed peace negotiations with the US. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is in the country too. This is the first-ever visit of a Taliban delegation to Pakistan since the establishment of the Taliban Political Commission.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and senior officials welcomed the twelve member Afghan Taliban delegation as it arrived at the Foreign Office.
The meeting participants spoke about the regional situation and bilateral affairs.
Both Pakistan and Afghanistan had to pay the price for the instability in Afghanistan, said Qureshi, adding that Pakistan knows that war can never be the solution for anything. “Dialogue is the only way forward if we want peace in Afghanistan,” he reiterated.
Peace in Afghanistan will prove to be beneficial for the entire country, the foreign minister remarked. We are glad that the world is appreciating the efforts taken by Pakistan for peace in our neighbouring country, he added.
Both Afghanistan and Pakistan have a shared history, geography and culture, Islam remains the strongest bond between the two brotherly countries, said the foreign minister. The people of both countries had also suffered tremendously because of 40 years-long conflict and instability in Afghanistan, he added.
Pakistan will continue to support all efforts to achieve permanent peace in Afghanistan which was essential for Pakistan’s own socio-economic development and progress, he added.
He added that Pakistan had wholeheartedly supported Afghanistan in its difficult times during the past four decades. In line with the teachings of Islam and as part of its moral obligation as a friendly neighbour, Pakistan has hosted millions of Afghan brothers and sisters during this period.
While appreciating the Taliban’s serious engagement in the peace process, he underscored the need to take these efforts to their logical conclusion.
Qureshi noted that the existing, broad regional and international consensus for achieving peace in Afghanistan at the earliest provided an unprecedented opportunity that must not be lost.
Thanking Pakistan for the hospitality, the delegation appreciated Pakistan’s support for peace in Afghanistan.
Both sides agreed on the need for earliest resumption of the peace process. The foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment and continued strong support for all efforts in this regard.
The delegation arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday evening after efforts by the militants and the United States to reach a deal allowing for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan broke down last month. The Taliban spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, had said that the delegation will discuss “important issues” with Pakistani officials.
On September 10, President Donald Trump said that US peace talks with the Taliban are “dead” and that he is ramping the war back up after canceling secret talks with the Afghan insurgents at his weekend retreat.
“They are dead. As far as I am concerned, they are dead,” President Trump said at the White House about the long-running attempt to reach an agreement with the Taliban and extricate US troops following 18 years of war.
While addressing a press conference at the United Nations last week, PM Khan said that Pakistan is still hoping for a peaceful resolution to the Afghan conflict. “We’re still hoping and trying to get the talks restarted and hopefully the deal will be signed,” he added.
PM Khan explained that he was going to meet the Taliban after the deal was signed with the Americans to persuade them to meet the Afghan government but “unfortunately we found out through a tweet that the deal was off”. Progress would have come after the deal was signed, he said, calling the development “very sad”.