Imran Khan to visit Kabul; Afghan politicians seek direct talks with Pakistan

Pakistani officials said on Wednesday in a statement that Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Kabul on Thursday to discuss the Afghan peace process with President Ashraf Ghani.

According to the statement, this is Khan’s first visit to Kabul as prime minister of Pakistan.

Afghan politicians meanwhile said Wednesday that they want direct talks with Pakistan over Kabul and Islamabad disagreements.

According to politicians, Pakistan has a key role in Afghanistan’s war and has the leverage to press the Taliban to agree to a reduction in violence.

“The international community should provide [Afghanistan] the opportunity to talk to Pakistani officials directly to solve our problems with them,” said Ahmad Wali Massoud, head of a political party.

According to Massoud, the current peace talks process is not on the right track, and that the international community should guarantee peace in Afghanistan.

“Unfortunately, the current efforts are for a political deal not for a peace deal. The intention for peace does not exist,” said Massoud.

Tahir Khan, a Pakistani journalist said that peace efforts will be at the top of the agenda between Ghani and Khan.

“During the trip, the current peace process and reduction in violence will be discussed, because there is a perception in Afghanistan that Pakistan has an influence on the Taliban that is rejected by the Taliban and Pakistan also does not accept this notion,” said Tahir Khan.

On the other hand, some politicians, who maintain relationships with the Taliban, said that the fate of the peace talks is not yet clear.

“If both sides do not reach a deal, we will be forced to intervene in the peace talks,” said Gul Rahman Qazi, Chairman of Afghanistan Council for Peace and Salvation.

This comes amid the stalled peace talks in Doha which started on September 12 and a serious increase in violence across the country.