Pakistan has played a ‘crucial role’ in persuading the Afghan Taliban to hold direct negotiations with the United States in an effort to bring peace to their war-ravaged country, officials said here.
A senior foreign ministry official familiar with the development disclosed that Pakistan’s decision to release key Taliban figures over the past few months had “enabled the insurgent group to come to the negotiating table”.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also revealed that some of the Taliban commanders released by Pakistan would be part of negotiations scheduled for this week in Doha, Qatar.
Pakistan, according to him, had provided a ‘safe passage’ to certain Taliban commanders taking part in the landmark talks.
A foreign ministry statement issued here said Pakistan played a ‘constructive and positive role’ in helping accomplish the important milestone of bring Taliban to the negotiating table.
“Pakistan welcomes the announcement of the opening of a Taliban office in Doha for the purpose of bringing peace to Afghanistan and the region,” said the statement. It also welcomed the start of direct peace talks between the US and the Taliban. Foreign ministry spokesperson Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry said Pakistan had long called for a peaceful and negotiated solution to the Afghan conflict. “It has repeatedly urged an early end to the war in order to re-establish peace and security in the region,” he added.
He said Pakistan was ready to continue to facilitate the process to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan in accordance with the wishes of the Afghan people.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2013.
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