‘Afghan govt confidence of paramount importance for result-oriented talks’

Rehmat Mehsud

PESHAWAR: The Afghan government had expressed serious reservations following reports that Taliban peace delegation members would meet Prime Minister Imran Khan on 18th of this month but the Afghan government didn’t show any doubts when the deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Abdul Rahman al-Thani and National Security Advisor Muhammad al-Masnad in Qatar met with Taliban leader Mullah Baradar Akhund, well-placed sources said.

Meanwhile, the Political Deputy of Taliban in Doha Mullah Baradar Akhund met with the US State Department’s Special Representative Zalmay Khalilzad and commander of US forces in Afghanistan Scott Miller, he added.

Those meetings, the source said were focused on discussions about the ongoing negotiations process and withdrawal of foreign forces from Afghanistan.an.

Earlier on February 17, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani telephoned Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the ongoing international efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan.

During the call, the Afghan president had “expressed his gratitude for Pakistan’s sincere facilitation of these efforts” that were initiated by US special envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office stated.

Mullah Baradar Akhund clarified the policy of Islamic Emirate regarding foreign forces withdrawal and changing situation of Afghanistan while emphasizing that Taliban’s are committed to the current peace process along with peace and establishment of an Islamic system in Afghanistan.

Irfanullah Khan, an MPhil scholar and expert on Pak-Afghan affairs, rued that lack of confidence of Afghan government on Pakistan’s role to push the peace process forward is a matter of huge concern.

On February 17, Sibghatullah Ahmadi, a spokesman and Director General of Communication of Afghanistan’s Foreign Affairs in a tweet, stated that “Afghanistan complains to UN Security Council on Pakistan’s engagements with the Taliban on which Afghanistan government is not consulted. It not only undermines the ongoing peace efforts but violates Afghanistan’s National Sovereignty, also falls in violation of UNSC Resolution 1988.”

The region is experiencing unprecedented political changes and the Afghan government should move forward to reciprocate Pakistan’s good gesture to ensure durable peace and tranquility in the region, Khan noted.

“We see lack of confidence by Afghanistan and it should shun that approach in larger interest of arresting peace. The world recognizes Taliban as de facto authority in Afghanistan. All options should be employed to ensure the direly-needed peace and security,” he observed.

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