Pakistan Welcomes Start of Second Round of Intra-Afghan Negotiations

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Naveed Miraj

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has welcomed commencement of the second round of Intra Afghan Negotiations in Doha today. The two teams have made significant progress by finalizing the rules and procedures last month and have now reconvened to negotiate on substantive issues.

The year 2020 witnessed substantial progress towards peace in Afghanistan, with a number of positive developments including conclusion of U.S.-Taliban Peace Agreement on 29 February 2020, start of intra-Afghan Negotiations on 12 September 2020, and agreement on Rules and Procedures on 2 December 2020, which paved the way for meaningful progress in the peace talks. We remain hopeful that the year 2021 will witness the dawn of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan.

We hope that the two negotiating teams would continue to engage with open-mind and will observe patience, prudence and perseverance to seize this historic opportunity for peace. We call upon both sides to remain constructively engaged and show flexibility in the negotiations for reaching an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement which would lead to lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s constructive role and facilitation of the Afghan peace process has been recognized by all sides and the international community. We strongly believe that there is no military solution to the Afghan conflict and that the only way forward is a negotiated political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process. Pakistan, on its part, would continue to extend all possible support for the Afghan peace process.

High level of violence in Afghanistan resulting in loss of precious Afghan lives remains a matter of concern. Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly called on all sides to take measures for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire. We are hopeful that the two sides will prioritize working out a road-map for reduction in violence and ceasefire in the negotiations.

Pakistan reiterates its abiding commitment to a peaceful, stable, united, sovereign, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan.