Afghan Taliban delegation meets Pakistan Foreign Minister


By Nasir Aijaz
AsiaN Representative

Islamabad: The high-level Afghan Taliban delegation currently in Islamabad to meet the Pakistani leadership were received by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Thursday morning, according to a press release issued by the Foreign Office (FO).

During their meeting with the foreign minister, the delegates discussed the regional situation, the Afghan peace process and other issues of mutual interest.

Inter-Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, Foreign Affairs Secretary Sohail Mahmood and other FO officials were present for the meeting.

The FO had revealed a deal earlier that an Afghan Taliban delegation was to visit Islamabad to review progress under the stalled US-Taliban peace talks.

“Both countries are equally facing the consequences of instability in Afghanistan over the past 40 years,” Qureshi was reported as telling the delegation. He also said that Pakistan understands that war is not the solution to any problem.

Qureshi said that in order to establish peace in Afghanistan, negotiations were the only possible and “positive” option.

The foreign minister said that Pakistan has played the mediator’s role in the Afghan peace progress and emphasized that a peaceful Afghanistan was necessary for peace and stability in the entire region.

He expressed hope that all parties would resume dialogue and that durable peace and stability can be achieved without further setbacks.

He said Pakistan would continue to play a mediator role with sincerity.

“Pakistan has extended an invitation to the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) in Doha for a visit,” the FO had said in a statement a day earlier.

Shortly before the announcement, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen had said Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and head of their political office in Qatar, would lead the delegation during talks on important issues with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

News of the visit came amidst reports that the special US envoy for the Afghan peace process, Zalmay Khalilzad, was also in Pakistan.

On Tuesday, Khalilzad had arrived in Islamabad for discussions with Pakistani civil and military leadership on reviving peace talks with the Afghan Taliban.

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