WASHINGTON: Pakistan has a key role in the Afghan peace effort, says Afghanistan’s acting Foreign Minister Mohammed Haneef Atmar as US and Taliban envoys resume their peace talks in Doha, Qatar.
On Tuesday, US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held a meeting in Doha with the head of the new Taliban team due to open peace talks with representatives of the Afghan government.
The negotiations, the result of an agreement between Washington and the Taliban, follow the release of the last batch of Taliban prisoners.
Atmar, who spoke recently at a Webinar at the US Institute of Peace (USIP) Washington, was the first Afghan official to indicate Kabul’s willingness to release the last batch to end the five-month delay in resuming the Doha peace talks.
According to a transcript released by USIP, Atmar also told the audience that “Pakistan has a key role because of its significant influence with the Taliban”. He expressed hope that Pakistani authorities will remain fully supportive of a peace process that leads to a stable, an independent, unified and democratic Afghanistan.
He also sought Pakistan’s support to ensure that the rights granted to Afghan women in the last 18 years were protected in any new arrangement in Afghanistan.
Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2020