KABUL: Less than a week after Pakistan hosted dozens of Afghan politicians to discuss ways to end an 18-year-long war in its neighbouring country, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani along with his ministers, advisers and a business delegation will arrive here at Islamabad on Thursday on the invitation of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
President Ghani will also travel to Lahore during the two-day visit, which is his third tour to Pakistan since 2014, as efforts have intensified to reach a political settlement and end decades of war in Afghanistan.
“It is important to see how much a regional country such as Pakistan is ready and what kind of help it can provide for peace in Afghanistan,” said Haroon Chakhansuri, a spokesman for President Ghani in Kabul. The delegation-level talks between the two sides would focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation in diverse areas including political, trade, economic, security, peace and reconciliation, education and people-to-people exchanges, said Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Wednesday.
President Ghani earlier this year had accused Pakistan of meddling in internal politics of Afghanistan. He said the keys to the war were in the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, where its government and military were based, and Quetta, the alleged hideout of a key group of Taliban leaders. Pakistani officials deny supporting the Taliban and say Islamabad favours a political settlement to maintain stability in Afghanistan, but Afghan officials remain cautious.
Last week dozens of Afghan politicians and opposition leaders gathered in Pakistan to discuss ways to achieve peace.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2019