Durable peace in Afghanistan to open avenues for regional economic connectivity: PM

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan says durable peace in Afghanistan would open avenues for regional economic connectivity.

Talking to U.S. Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad in Islamabad today (Monday), he said the escalation of conflict and instability in Afghanistan is not in Pakistan’s interest and it would lead to serious challenges for Islamabad regarding security and influx of refugees.

He highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating peace efforts for achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to end over four decades long conflict in Afghanistan.

He recalled that he has consistently emphasized that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. He said imposition of a government by force will not lead to the resolution of the conflict and that only a negotiated settlement will bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, the Prime Minister underlined that a secure and safe Western border was in Pakistan’s own best interest and Pakistan would like to remain closely engaged with the U.S. and other relevant countries for peace efforts.

He emphasized the need for all Afghan sides to show flexibility and engage meaningfully with each other.

Imran Khan said that it is important for Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional countries to constructively work together for a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan.

The exchange of views covered the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and the need for expediting the Afghan peace process.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad is on a one-day visit to Islamabad as part of a visit to the region.