ISLAMABAD: European Union Special Envoy for Afghanistan Roland Kobia appreciated Islamabad’s “important contributions” to push for peace in the region.
The envoy, who is on a two-day visit to the country, called on Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua at the Foreign Office on Thursday. The two leaders exchanged views on the ongoing efforts for peace in Afghanistan, said a press statement issued by the FO.
Janjua reiterated Pakistan’s “continued commitment to peace in the region and a peaceful neighbourhood”.
Stressing that “peace and stability in Afghanistan was crucial for Pakistan”, he added Islamabad facilitated talks between the United States and the Taliban in “good faith and as part of shared responsibility”.
The foreign secretary also hoped that the “talks would lead to intra-Afghan dialogue”.
Acknowledging the EU’s role in the efforts, the foreign secretary underscored the importance of working with the EU to push for peace in the war-torn country.
The EU envoy emphasised significance of “peace and stability in Afghanistan for EU as much as for neighbouring countries” and appreciated Pakistan’s “important contribution towards peace efforts.”
An opportunity is available today that must not be missed at any cost, he added.
Pak-brokered talks between US-Taliban
Earlier this year, a three-day parleys were attended by representatives of the Afghan Taliban, the US as well as officials from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
It was the first time that the Taliban’s military and political leaders attended a negotiation – something that has renewed hopes of a possible peace deal. Previously, the Taliban were only represented by their political office in Qatar.
The presence of the Taliban leaders like Mullah Amir Mutaqi, Qari Yahya, Mullah Mohibullah Hamas and Mullah Abbas Akhund at the UAE talks suggests seriousness of the insurgent group towards the latest round of discussions facilitated by Pakistan.
Afghan peace process
The latest push for a peace came after President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Pakistan’s help for the negotiated settlement of the Afghan conflict.
In the letter, the United States had sought PM Imran’s full support to advance Afghan peace process. The correspondence came after Trump accused Pakistan of “doing nothing” despite receiving “billions of dollars” in aid.
The premier had hit back to the allegations by advising Washington to assess its efficiency in the war on terror instead of making Pakistan a scapegoat for its failure.
Although both the US and Pakistan now have a commonality of views on seeking a political solution to the Afghan problem, the trust deficit between the two is the real stumbling block. Relations between the two countries are tense despite recent efforts to reset the troubled ties.
At the heart of their stalemate is the US insistence on Pakistan to do more to bring the Afghan Taliban on to the negotiating table. Washington still believes that Islamabad holds considerable sway over the insurgent group.