Pakistan has helped in US-Taliban talks to further peace process: PM Imran

Pakistan has helped in US-Taliban talks to further peace process: PM Imran

Islamabad (Staff Report/Agencies): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said Pakistan has helped in the dialogue between Taliban and the United States in Abu Dhabi.

“Pakistan has helped in the dialogue between Taliban and the US in Abu Dhabi. Let us pray that this leads to peace and ends almost three decades of suffering of the brave Afghan people. Pakistan will be doing everything within its power to further the peace process,” the premier said in a tweet.

Officials of the United States and the Afghan Taliban convened on Monday, with the assistance of Pakistan.

Earlier a day, Zabihullah Mujahid, the movement’s main spokesman, said the representatives from Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE would also take part in the meeting, which follows at least two meetings between Taliban officials and US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in Qatar.

The meetings come as diplomatic efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict have intensified, although the Taliban have so far refused to deal directly with the Western-backed government in Kabul, which it considers illegitimate.

The Taliban say the presence of international forces in Afghanistan is the main obstacle to peace but have said that issues including mutual recognition with the Kabul government, constitutional changes and women’s rights can be negotiated.

On Saturday, the United States said it welcomes actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the war in neighbouring Afghanistan.

The acknowledgement came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced Pakistan had arranged another round of US peace talks with the Afghan Taliban scheduled for Monday.

 “The United States welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a US embassy spokesperson in Kabul told Voice of America.

Khalilzad has met, and will continue to meet, with all interested parties, including the Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.

Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan seeking Pakistan’s assistance in the Afghan peace process, aimed at catalysing an end to the 17-year invasion of Afghanistan by US troops.

Trump also sought Pakistan’s assistance in bringing the Taliban leadership to the negotiating table, it was revealed by the Pakistani premier.

Pakistan Foreign Office has welcomed the new round of talks between the Afghan Taliban and other international stakeholders.