Tuesday Feb 18, 2020
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said he hopes a peace deal is signed at the earliest between the US and the Afghan Taliban, which he believes will pave the way for an intra-Afghan dialogue that can work out a settlement for sustained peace and stability in Afghanistan.
PM Imran expressed this sentiment in a meeting with US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation, Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, held on Monday. The details of the meeting were issued on Tuesday in a series of tweets by the Prime Minister’s Office
During the meeting, Amb Khalilzad briefed the PM on the latest developments in the ongoing Afghan peace and reconciliation process. PM Imran reiterated Pakistan’s “commitment to a peaceful, stable and democratic Afghanistan”.
“Pakistan welcomes the recent progress in peace talks between the US and Taliban,” PM Imran told the US envoy.
The premier reminded Amb Khalilzad that Islamabad had facilitated the Afghan peace and reconciliation process as it genuinely believed that, after Afghanistan, Pakistan stood to benefit the most from peace and stability in the neighbouring country.
PM Imran also emphasised that the formalisation of a peace deal was “essential” for the repatriation of the millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan.
The News on Tuesday reported that the Afghan Taliban have said that they have concluded their peace talks with the United States and are set to sign a peace deal by the end of this month.
“After many ups and downs, the peace talks with the US have finally been concluded in Doha. We agreed on certain major issues and could most likely sign the peace accord by the end of this month (February),” a senior Taliban leader privy to the peace talks had told The News.
He said both sides have decided to create a friendly environment in Afghanistan before signing off on the peace accord and are expected to stop fighting for a few days.
Taliban leaders told the publication that they intend to invite world leaders, including rulers of Muslim countries, Europe, Afghanistan’s neighbours, NATO officials, United Nations officials, leaders from the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and those involved in the affairs of Afghanistan to the signing ceremony.