ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has announced that the next round of talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban for peace in Afghanistan will commence on January 5.
“The venue is yet to be decided and both sides have indicated their preferences,” the foreign minister said, while addressing a press conference following a meeting with an Afghan Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
“In the discussions held today, Pakistan once more presented its view that there is no military solution for continued peace in Afghan,” he said, adding, “A negotiated political settlement is the only way forward for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.”
The foreign minister further said that Pakistan presented its view point to the Baradar-led delegation which also included their main negotiator Sheikh Hakeem. “One thing that was clear was that in the past 40 years’ events brought a lot of damage to Afghanistan, Pakistan and the entire region,” Qureshi added.
“This is a historic opportunity to redress that damage and must not be wasted. The talks have now begun but the reduction in violence that was expected is so far not being witnessed,” he remarked.
However, he said, this responsibility cannot be placed on the shoulders of the Taliban alone. “All sides will have to play a role,” he stressed. FM Qureshi also said that there were many reasons for the violence and the delegation presented their viewpoint on the matter.
FM Qureshi noted that Pakistan wants a reduction in violence and wants it to proceed towards a ceasefire. “For a stable Afghanistan a comprehensive and inclusive settlement is required,” he added.
He also urged the international community to play its vital role if they wish to see a peaceful Afghanistan. “They will have to continue their role in the reconstruction and economic development and this will make possible the return of Afghan refugees,” he added.
FM Qureshi added that the delegation was grateful to Pakistan for the country’s positive role in taking this matter forward and for taking care of Afghan refugees. “They acknowledge that for this war to continue is not in their favour and not in the favour of Afghanistan,” he concluded.