Khan Pledges Pakistani Help Toward Afghan Ceasefire: Sediqqi

President Ashraf Ghani spoke with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday evening and they discussed the peace process and their concerns over the escalation of violence in Afghanistan, Presidential Palace spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said.

Prime Minister Imran Khan told President Ghani that Pakistan will help Afghanistan bring down the level of violence, leading to ceasefire, said Sediqqi.

Islamabad in a statement said that Khan had a phone call with Ghani to discuss the progress in the ongoing Afghan peace process and the strengthening of Pakistan-Afghanistan relations.

Khan reiterated Pakistan’s steadfast support for the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process for a political solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, it said.

Khan also underlined that “Pakistan’s outreach to all Afghan stakeholders was part of its facilitative efforts to ensure progress towards an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement. The latest visit of Taliban Political Commission (TPC) to Pakistan is also in this context,” said the statement.

“The Prime Minister reiterated Pakistan’s call on all the Afghan sides for taking measures for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire,” it said.

The statement also mentioned that the leaders agreed to continue their engagement for supporting the peace process and enhancing bilateral cooperation.

This comes as a Taliban delegation headed by deputy leader Mullah Baradar has met with Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday to discuss the Afghan peace process.

Reaffirming “Pakistan’s support for a peaceful, stable, united, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan, the foreign minister reiterated Pakistan’s belief that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.”

He underlined that Pakistan “will continue to facilitate the Afghan peace process and expressed the hope that the Afghan parties would seize this historic opportunity to establish lasting peace in Afghanistan through an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement,” Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement after the meeting between Mullah Baradar and Qureshi.

“Foreign Minister Qureshi conveyed that the agreement reflects a common resolve of the parties to secure a negotiated solution. He emphasized importance of measures by all sides for reduction in violence leading to ceasefire. The foreign minister added that Pakistan will respect the decisions taken by the Afghan parties through the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.”

The foreign minister also underlined the need for guarding against the “machinations of spoilers” who would disrupt the process.

Qureshi “highlighted the steps being taken by Pakistan to deepen the economic relations and people-to-people exchanges including visa facilitation and enhancing trade and transit for the welfare of fraternal Afghan people.”

The Taliban Political Commission delegation is visiting Pakistan from December 16-18, 2020, “as part of Pakistan’s efforts of outreach to all Afghan stakeholders for a peaceful resolution of the Afghan conflict,” the statement said.

Location ‘debate should not delay talks’

Meanwhile, the chairman of the High Council of National Reconciliation, Abdullah Abdullah, on Wednesday said that the next venue for the second round of peace negotiation talks between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban will be determined in coordination between the negotiators from the two sides, saying the issue of the venue shouldn’t cause any delays for holding the second round of the talks.

Abdullah made the remarks at a meeting with members of the negotiating team representing the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan in the talks with the Taliban. The Kabul team returned from Doha on Tuesday.

Before this, President Ashraf Ghani in a cabinet meeting on Monday echoed NSA Hamdullah Mohib to say that the second round of the peace negotiation talks should be held in Afghanistan.

The Taliban has opposed President Ashraf Ghani’s call to hold the next round of the peace negotiations in Afghanistan, saying the request signals fear on the republic’s side.