Pakistan to continue Afghan peace efforts

Hopes parties to conflict will seize opportunity for political settlement

Our Correspondent April 21, 2021
Foreign Office Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. PHOTO: APP/FILE


Pakistan on Thursday said it would continue to work towards achieving a lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan, adding the parties to the conflict would not miss the opportunity to work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

“Pakistan has been consistently supporting and facilitating the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Foreign Office spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said while responding to media queries on the postponement of the Afghan peace process conference due to be held in Turkey.

Turkey had announced on Tuesday that an international peace conference on Afghanistan scheduled for April 24 in Istanbul has been postponed until mid-May.

“We have always maintained that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan,” added the spokesperson.

The postponement comes after the US administration of President Joe Biden last week announced the withdrawal of all American forces from Afghanistan before this year's 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Read more: FM Qureshi urges Taliban to stay engaged in peace process

Turkey had first announced the conference, co-sponsored by the United Nations and Qatar, to run from April 24 to May 4.

Ankara said the talks would be between representatives of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

The spokesperson said Pakistan “attaches great value to Turkey’s efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan”.

“We believe that the meeting of Afghan leadership in Turkey, on the new dates once finalised, would be an important opportunity for the Afghans to make progress towards a negotiated political settlement.”

Last week, the Taliban when contacted said the group had still not completed internal consultations over whether to attend the conference.

“We hope that the Afghan parties will not miss the opportunity to work out an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said Pakistan would continue to work with the international community in the efforts aimed at seeking a lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Read more: Pakistan wants to live in peace with all its neighbours including India: FM Qureshi

The US is trying to add urgency to long-stalled peace talks ahead of its planned end to military involvement in Afghanistan which began in response to the 2001 terror attacks on Washington and New York.

Biden has pledged to remove the last American troops from Afghanistan -- a force currently made up of around 2,500 personnel -- within six months.

A leaked US State Department report said Washington wanted the Turkey conference to approve a plan to replace the present leadership of President Ashraf Ghani with an interim government involving the Taliban.

Before the postponement was announced, State Department spokesman Ned Price said "there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, and only through a political settlement, and a comprehensive ceasefire, will we be able to support a resolution that brings security, stability, and prosperity to the people of Afghanistan".


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