Peaceful, Stable Afghanistan Will Bring Opportunity: Imran Khan

“The Prime Minister conveyed Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Afghanistan,” the PM’s office said.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday during his meeting with Karim Khalili, the head of Hizb-e-Wahdat-e-Islami in Islamabad said that “a peaceful and stable Afghanistan will open up new vistas of cooperation in trade and regional connectivity.”

Khalili and Khan during the meeting exchanged views on the Afghan peace process and bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, said the PM’s office in a statement.

“The Prime Minister conveyed Pakistan’s commitment to strengthen the bilateral relationship with Afghanistan, including trade and economic ties and people-to-people linkages,” the statement said.

Reiterating Pakistan’s consistent support to the Afghan peace process, Khan underscored that “the Intra-Afghan Negotiations process must be pursued with perseverance and patience for an inclusive and broad-based solution.”

He underscored his longstanding position that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement was the only way forward.

“Noting that the Afghan people had suffered gravely due to prolonged conflict in the country, the Prime Minister stressed that after the Afghan people, Pakistan was most desirous of peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

Khan underscored that the “intra-Afghan negotiations process must be pursued with perseverance and patience for an inclusive and broad-based solution.”

He also recalled his recent interaction with Afghan leaders and underlined that Pakistan’s message to all sides was to work together for a peaceful solution and particularly emphasized the importance of a reduction of violence leading to ceasefire.

He also assured the Afghan delegation of Pakistan’s continued support for human resource development through scholarships and socio-economic development projects in Afghanistan.

Khalili also met Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday and discussed the Afghan peace process.

Interim government

The US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad discussed the prospect of an interim government in Afghanistan as a result of the peace process, said sources close to the Afghan politicians who recently met Khalilzad.

According to the sources familiar with the process, Khalilzad in his meetings with the Afghan politicians apparently talked about three options: First, the continuation of the present government and the inclusion of the Taliban in the govt. Second, the inclusion of the government in the structure of a Taliban-led government. Third, the option to establish an interim and inclusive government.

According to the sources, the Afghan political leaders reportedly told Khalilzad that the establishment of an interim government was the appropriate option to end the war in Afghanistan.

Khalilzad arrived in Kabul last week and met with senior Afghan political leaders including Abdullah Abdullah, the head of the High Council of National Reconciliation, former President Hamid Karzai, former mujahideen leader Abdul Rab Rasoul Sayyaf, Foreign Minister Mohammad Hanif Atmar and National Security Adviser Hamdullah Mohib.

President Ashraf Ghani refrained from meeting Khalilzad during his recent tour.

President Ashraf Ghani on Wednesday, referring to the recent rumors about the establishment of an interim government as an outcome of a peace process with the Taliban, said that the Afghan people do not support the dissolution of democracy and that his main duty as president is to peacefully transfer the power to his successor according to the law.

The Taliban have so far not announced their official position about the establishment of an interim government in Afghanistan. However, the group in the past has said that the talks on the future government will be among their top priorities during the talks.

Key negotiators not in Doha

A week has passed since negotiators from both sides of the Afghan peace negotiations announced the resumption of the second round of intra-Afghan talks in Doha; however, some members of their teams have not returned to Doha.

Mawlavi Abdul Hakim, the Taliban’s chief negotiator and Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the head of the Taliban’s political office in Doha, have also not returned to Doha from Pakistan.

Reacting to the issue, lawmakers in Afghanistan’s parliament on Tuesday said that members of the negotiating teams should not put their personal interests ahead of national interests.

Abdul Matin Bek, Nader Nadery, Fatima Gailani, Fawzia Koofi are the members of the peace negotiating team from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan who have not returned to Doha.

This comes as violence continues to rage across Afghanistan, with dozens of military personnel and civilians killed and wounded.