Intra-Afghan dialogue a vital component of reconciliation process, Qureshi tells US special envoy

Updated April 05, 2019

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Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said discussions taking place among Afghans were an important part of the Afghan peace process, while meeting with US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. — Photo provided by author
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday said discussions taking place among Afghans were an important part of the Afghan peace process, while meeting with US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad. — Photo provided by author

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday that intra-Afghan dialogue is a key component of the Afghan reconciliation process.

From Doha to Moscow, the Taliban have been meeting an array of envoys with competing interests in Afghanistan, from the US — eager to withdraw its troops after a 17-year war — to politicians in Kabul jostling for power.

The Taliban have, however, refused to hold talks Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's US-backed administration, accusing it of being a puppet regime. The Afghan government has denied the allegations.

Read more: Afghan Taliban take centre stage as Kabul cut out of peace talks

US Secretary of State's Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad was scheduled to visit Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Jordan, London and Brussels before returning to Washington on April 10.

Khalilzad, who arrived in Islamabad today after wrapping up a five-day trip to Afghanistan, held meetings in the capital with the foreign secretary and the foreign minister.

During his meeting with Shah Mahmood Qureshi, the US envoy shared updates on his meetings in Afghanistan and the dynamics of the intra-Afghan dialogue, the FO statement said.

Explore: Afghan president, politicians discuss peace process

Foreign Minister Qureshi, while appreciating Khalilzad's efforts, stated that intra-Afghan dialogue is a vital component of the reconciliation process. He reiterated Pakistan's commitment to the peace process, the press release added.

Earlier today, Khalilzad, along with an inter-agency delegation, held delegation-level talks with Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua. Janjua was assisted by senior officials from the Foreign Affairs and Defence ministries. During the talks, important affairs, including progress made in the Afghan reconciliation process, were discussed.

Read: Larger team to include Afghan govt representatives

The foreign secretary also briefed Khalilzad on a telephone conversation between Qureshi and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Both sides agreed to remain engaged to pursue the reconciliation process, the FO stated.

US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad meets Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ. — ISPR
US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad meets Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at GHQ. — ISPR

Khalilzad also held a meeting with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi and discussed regional security situation and the ongoing Afghan peace talks, an Inter-Services Public Relations press release said. The US envoy also appreciated Pakistan's efforts to establish peace in Afghanistan.