PM urges Afghans to ‘seize historic opportunity’

Premier Imran welcomes start of intra-Afghan talks in Doha


Our Correspondent September 11, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: PID/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan on Friday welcomed the commencement of the much-awaited intra-Afghan dialogue as Prime Minister Imran Khan urged all sides to ‘seize the historic opportunity’ in order to put an end to the long military conflict.

The crucial talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban are set to begin on Saturday in Doha after months of delay primarily on the issue of the prisoners’ exchange.

“I warmly welcome the announcement regarding the commencement of Intra-Afghan Negotiations on 12 September 2020. Finally, our combined efforts have brought forth the day that the Afghan people have been yearning for,” said Prime Minister Imran in a statement issued.

He noted that for more than 40 years, the Afghans have suffered from continued conflict and bloodshed. Pakistan has endured the fall-out that was reflected in incidence of terrorism, loss of precious lives, and huge economic cost.

“I have underlined for a long time that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that the only way forward is a negotiated political settlement,” he added.

Through relentless efforts, the prime minister noted Pakistan had played a pivotal role in facilitating the Afghan peace process to this juncture. “We feel deeply gratified today as we have fulfilled our part of the responsibility.”

The prime minister urged all stakeholders in Afghanistan to take full advantage of the opportunity to put an end to the war in Afghanistan.

“It is now for the Afghan leaders to seize this historic opportunity, work together constructively, and secure an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” he maintained.

He went on to say that successful culmination of an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process is indispensable to Afghanistan and to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

“We hope all sides will honour their respective commitments, persevere in the face of all challenges, and remain unflinchingly committed to achieving the desired outcome.”

He said for its part, Pakistan would continue to remain in full support and solidarity with the Afghan people as they march forward in this consequential journey for peace and development.

The intra-Afghan dialogue will evolve consensus among all political players, including the Afghan Taliban, about the future political set-up in the war-torn country, especially after the withdrawal of US troops.

Observers are cautiously optimistic about the peace deal as US President Donald Trump seeks to show Afghanistan as a success story before going for re-election later this year.

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