Pakistan helped construct roadmap for US-Taliban peace deal, says FM Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday said Pakistan played a pivotal role that paved the way for the peace talks between the United States and Afghan Taliban.

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Qureshi said, in a statement released by the Foreign Office, that the Afghan peace process was a complex issue and there is no military solution to the conflict.

The foreign minister said peace in Afghanistan will benefit the entire region, including Pakistan, and will promote bilateral trade between the two countries.

Qureshi further added that Pakistan has an opportunity to rebuild the war-torn country.

“Did anyone expect the Afghan Taliban and the US to sit at a table?” asked the foreign minister.

The foreign minister further questioned if anyone expected Pakistan to play such a significant role in the Afghan peace process.

Qureshi said Pakistan accepted a major responsibility by mediating talks between the US and the Taliban, adding that the people and leadership of Afghanistan will decide how to carry the peace deal forward.

US-Taliban peace talks 

Afghans woke up to a week-long partial truce on Saturday after the Taliban, the US and local forces all agreed to a lull that could be a major turning point in the long conflict.

If the so-called “reduction in violence” holds, it will be a major step towards withdrawing US troops after more than 18 years – and launching Afghanistan into an uncertain future.

Both US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Taliban issued statements on Friday saying they had agreed to sign an accord on February 29 in Doha, following the one-week partial truce.

“Upon successful implementation of this understanding, signing of the US-Taliban agreement is expected to move forward,” Pompeo said, adding that talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government would “start soon thereafter”.

 

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