Pakistan calls for peaceful settlement of Afghan conflict

Pakistan For­eign Office on Thursday urged all warring factions of Afghanistan to seek a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

“During the past 17 years, the pursuit of a military option has only added to the sufferings and miseries of the Afghan people. We, therefore, urge all sides to focus on resolving the internal Afghan dispute through dialogue,” said FO spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal at the weekly media briefing.

On Wednesday, the Afghan Taliban announced that they would start their annual spring offensive codenamed Al Khandaq. The announcement poured cold water on the hopes of possible peace talks.

Back in February, Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani had offered unconditional talks to the Taliban. The militant group did not respond to the offer and analysts had speculated that their silence meant that they were thinking about accepting it.

Pakistan had supported President Ghani’s offer for a peace dialogue.

Dr Faisal recalled that Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and President Ghani, during the former’s visit to Kabul earlier this month, had called on the Taliban to respond positively to the peace offer made by the Afghan government and join the peace process without further delay.

Pakistan, the spokesman said, had always maintained that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan. The only viable way forward, he maintained, was a politically negotiated settlement through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.