Taliban, United States, Afghanistan and Pakistan are on the same page that there has to be a political solution for Afghan conflict whereas Russia, China and Iran also agree with this position.
This was stated by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in his talk with media correspondents yesterday. Earlier this week, he had a meeting with Afghan president’s special envoy for regional consensus for Afghan peace Umer Daudzai in Islamabad and assured him that Pakistan would do all to help the people of Afghanistan see the earliest possible end to bloodshed.
Qureshi said that US special envoy for Afghan peace and reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad is due in Islamabad next week.
He said Pakistan wants the Taliban to give up their refusal to talk to the Afghan government so that a political settlement of the 17-year-old conflict could be negotiated. “We want them to sit together. It is for Afghans to sort out their problems and as long as they do not sit down and talk to each other, outsiders can do little to help them,” he said.
Pakistan last month facilitated a meeting between the United States and the Taliban in Abu Dhabi, which was also attended by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The talks were described as “positive” and “productive” by the UAE and the US, but Taliban have remained stuck to their position that they would not talk to the government in Kabul, which they call a “puppet regime”. The insurgent group instead wants to first reach a settlement with the US on the withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.
Qureshi says outsiders can do little to help Afghans overcome war if they do not sit together
Criticising Taliban’s refusal to talk to Afghan government, Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Wednesday said that as long as that did not happen the hopes of ending the conflict would remain a pipe dream.
Another round of talks to build on Abu Dhabi meeting is expected later this month.
Meanwhile, Foreign Office spokesman Dr Mohammad Faisal in a tweet emphasised Pakistan’s commitment to an intra-Afghan dialogue. “Pakistan is facilitating efforts for a peaceful solution in Afghanistan. We believe that an intra-Afghan dialogue is the only way to a successful negotiated settlement,” he wrote in a post on the microblogging site.
Asked about the prospects for this impasse on initiation of an intra-Afghan process being overcome, Foreign Minister Qureshi appeared hopeful and recalled that till lately “no one could have thought of US and Taliban representatives sitting under one roof and talking to each other, but that happened”.