Awan dismisses reports of meeting between PM Imran, Taliban

Updated October 04, 2019

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Awan says Thursday's meeting between the foreign minister and the Taliban delegation was held to promote peace in the region. — DawnNewsTV/File
Awan says Thursday's meeting between the foreign minister and the Taliban delegation was held to promote peace in the region. — DawnNewsTV/File

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan on Friday categorically refuted reports of a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and the visiting delegation of the Afghan Taliban.

A Doha-based Taliban Political Commission (TPC) delegation is in Islamabad on the invitation of the Pakistan government for a discussion on the prospects of the resumption of stalled peace talks between the United States and Taliban.

On Thursday, the visiting delegation of the TPC, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, had called on Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other senior officials, including the Inter-Services Intelligence chief.

SAPM Firdous Ashiq Awan today said, "The dialogue with the TPC delegation at the Foreign Office (FO) yesterday is a good omen for the [Afghan] reconciliation process."

"The meeting is proof that Pakistan has always played a crucial role in creating a positive environment for regional and international peace," she said in a tweet.

Awan said Thursday's meeting between the foreign minister and the Taliban delegation was held to promote peace in the region and expressed hope that the meeting will produce positive results in the near future.

She also stated categorically that, "The Taliban delegation didn't call on the prime minister. All news published and aired in this regard are baseless."

After the meeting between the Taliban delegation and the foreign minister, there were rumours that the delegation also met Prime Minister Khan, but a press officer at the Prime Minister Office had denied that any such meeting took place on Thursday.

Pakistan has been pushing for the resumption of the engagement between the US and Taliban, which had gone off the rails after President Donald Trump’s Sept 7 tweet in which he had announced ending talks with the insurgent group and the cancellation of a planned meeting with Taliban leaders and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David because of death of a US soldier in an attack in Kabul.

The US and Taliban were at the time closest to signing a deal for ending the conflict that is now in its second decade.

PM Imran, in his meetings with President Trump and Ambassador Khalilzad on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly session, had tried to persuade them to return to the talks so that the progress made towards peace was not lost.