Pakistan, Taliban agree to resume Afghan peace process

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan and Afghan Taliban have agreed on Thursday to the need for earliest resumption of the Afghan peace process.

The two sides came into their agreement during Taliban Political Commission (TPC) delegation’s visit, led by Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar, to Islamabad earlier, Pakistan Foreign Office said in a press statement.

The Taliban delegation called on Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office in the federal capital, it said, adding Qureshi reiterated Pakistan’s commitment and continued support for all efforts in this regard.

He said Pakistan will continue to support all efforts to achieve permanent peace in Afghanistan, which is essential for Pakistan’s own socio-economic development and progress.

It was emphasized that reduction of violence by all parties to the conflict is necessary to provide an enabling environment for resumption of the peace process at an early date.

The talks came a month after US President Donald Trump called off peace talks with Taliban rebels aimed at ending 18-year war in Afghanistan, and were called off after Taliban and US “agree in principle” on an agreement, which could lead to a way for American forces withdrawal from Afghanistan.

The peace deal agreement was the result of nine rounds of talks between the US and Taliban representatives, held in Doha, the capital of Qatar.

This is first ever visit of a Taliban delegation to Pakistan since the establishment of the TPC.

In reference to the talks, Qureshi said the direct Taliban-US talks since last year, strongly and sincerely supported by Pakistan, have now laid a firm ground for achieving a sustainable peace deal in Afghanistan.

While appreciating Taliban’s serious engagement in the peace process, the Foreign Minister underscored the need to take these efforts to their logical conclusion.

He expressed hope that the currently paused peace process would be restarted at an early date, noting Pakistan has maintained for several years that there is no military solution to the complex situation in Afghanistan.

An inclusive peace and reconciliation process, involving all sections of the Afghan society, is the only, practical way forward.

The Taliban delegation thanked Pakistan for the hospitality and appreciated its support for peace in Afghanistan.

The visit followed the fourth Presidential elections in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 that took place on Saturday.

The results are expected to be announced on October 16 while a second round of polls will be held between the two leading candidates if 51 percent of the total votes are not secured by any candidate.

Taliban rebels issued warning to civilians before the polls to stay away from the polling centers and carried several attacks before and on the polling day.

Source: Kuwait News Agency