Army chief, Qatari leadership discuss Afghan peace process

General Raheel Sharif meets Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim, prime minister and other officials in Doha, says ISPR

News Desk/tahir Khan February 22, 2016

ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Raheel Sharif has met the Qatari leadership to discuss facilitation in the Afghan reconciliation process.

The chief of the army staff, who is in Doha on an official visit, held separate meetings with Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad and Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Naseer and discussed the Arab country's cooperation in Afghan reconciliation, the army's media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said in a statement on Monday.

The two sides deliberated upon matters relating to regional security and enhanced bilateral defence cooperation, it added.

The visit is seen as crucial as it came a day before the next round of the quadrilateral meeting in Kabul that is likely to set a date for talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

The Taliban have their political office in Qatar and leaders of the movement insist the office has been authorised to hold political negotiations.

The Qatar's leadership reiterated that the two countries shared brotherly relations, which over a period of time transformed into strategic and mutually beneficial ties.

Expressing satisfaction at the level of defence relations between Pak-Qatar armed forces, both sides underscored further enhancing the cooperation.

They also acknowledged Pakistan’s role in bringing about regional stability, appreciating Pakistan Army’s efforts in countering terrorism and bringing peace in the region.

Moreover, General Raheel also held meetings with Minister of Defence Affairs Doctor Khalid Bin Muhammad and Major General Muhammad Bin Ali al Ghanim, commander Qatari Emiri Land Force (QELF) during his visit.

Kabul-Taliban meet-up: Quadrilateral group to fix date on Feb 23

Meanwhile, the army chief has been involved in consultation with Afghan leaders about the peace process during his series of visits to Kabul.

Last week, he had received Afghan ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal and assured his full support to the peace process.

Kabul committed to quartet process

On February 6, the third round of the four-nation process in its meeting in Islamabad had agreed to approach the Taliban office in Qatar to encourage them to join the reconciliation process.

The date for resumption of direct talks between Kabul and Taliban is likely to be announced this week when senior officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States sit together as part of ongoing efforts to strike a peace deal in the war-torn country.

The fourth meeting of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) will take place in the Afghan capital on Tuesday.


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