Pakistan backs Afghan talks, Bajwa tells US special envoy

Published May 9, 2020
Khalilzad scheduled to return to Doha for resumption of negotiations with Taliban. — ISPR/File
Khalilzad scheduled to return to Doha for resumption of negotiations with Taliban. — ISPR/File

ISLAMABAD: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa has said Pakistan’s support for the Afghan reconciliation process is a proof of its sincerity for peace in Afghanistan.

Talking to US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Dr Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday, the army chief said: “Our support towards peace process is a manifestation of our goodwill towards the cause.”

Dr Khalilzad was visiting Pakis­tan after a meeting with Taliban leaders in Doha and a stopover in Delhi, where he met Indian Exter­nal Affairs Minister Subrahman­yam Jaishankar and National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

The Indian leaders, according to reports in Indian media, blamed a recent spike in violence in Afghanistan to alleged “sanctuaries” on Pakistani soil and emphasised their elimination. The Indian allegations have come in the backdrop of renewed terror accusations against Pakistan in India-held Kashmir.

Pakistan has strongly rejected all Indian allegations and has asked the United Nations to seek proofs from India about the alleged “launch pads” and “infiltration bids” at the Line of Control.

Khalilzad scheduled to return to Doha for resumption of negotiations with Taliban

Dr Khalilzad, according to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), praised continuing Pakistani efforts for peace and stability in the region.

India, despite the special envoy’s recent visits to Delhi, is uneasy because its viewpoint on Afghanistan is getting little weightage in Washington.

Pakistan had facilitated long-drawn US-Taliban talks, which culminated with the signing of a landmark peace deal in Doha in February between the two adversaries that have been at war for 19 years. Under the deal, the Afghan Taliban gave counterterrorism assurances and agreed to engage in dialogue with the Afghan government for ending war. The peace agreement was expected to pave the way for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan.

However, the progress towards start of intra-Afghan peace talks have been sluggish because of trust deficit between the Afghan factions and slow release of prisoners by both sides. Intra-Afghan talks were, according to the original plan, to commence on March 10 after release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners by Kabul, while the militant group was to set free 1,000 government personnel. So far the Afghan government has released 933 of the 5,000 Taliban prisoners, while the Taliban have freed 155 captives.

In recent weeks, the Taliban finally intensified attacks against government forces. On Thursday, Khost police chief Ahmad Babazai was killed in a landmine attack.

Dr Khalilzad said he had in his “lengthy” overnight meeting with the head of Taliban political office in Doha emphasised “reduction in violence, humanitarian ceasefire as demanded by the international community to allow for better cooperation on managing Covid-19 pandemic in Afghanistan, acceleration of prisoner releases by both sides, actions necessary to secure the freedom of US citizen Mark Frerichs, regional and international support for the peace process, and movement to intra-Afghan negotiations ASAP”.

The special envoy will travel back to Doha from Islamabad for continuing his discussions with Taliban leaders.

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2020

Opinion

Poisoning minds
23 Jan 2021

Poisoning minds

ICS cadets were raised on James Mill’s notorious work.
The fog of Broadsheet
23 Jan 2021

The fog of Broadsheet

How can the government pump credibility into an official probe when it has already declared its own political verdict?
Cheating on online exams
23 Jan 2021

Cheating on online exams

The difficulty of preventing online cheating and low ethical standards means that these days most students cheat.
Language mess
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Language mess

Our policy confuses the medium-of-instruction debate with the language-acquisition debate.

Editorial

23 Jan 2021

Power price hike

ALREADY struggling to cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and rising food prices, consumers received yet...
Updated 23 Jan 2021

Israeli land grab

WITH the chapter now closed on the Trump presidency, the eyes of many in the international community — ...
23 Jan 2021

New PhD policy

EARLIER in the week, the HEC chairman announced several changes for undergraduate and PhD degrees in the country....
Updated 22 Jan 2021

Time to heal

A multitude of foreign issues will test Biden’s mettle and require progressive thinking.
22 Jan 2021

Foreign funding

AS the pressure builds on his party in the foreign funding case, Prime Minister Imran Khan has called for an ...
22 Jan 2021

Decaying PTV

THE Cabinet Committee on State-Owned Enterprises has decided to remove Pakistan Television from the list of...