A delegation from the Afghan Taliban’s Qatar-based political office met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at the Foreign Office on Tuesday to discuss issues impeding the start of the intra-Afghan dialogue for ending the 19-year-old conflict in the country.
Mullah Baradar, the director of the political office and Taliban’s deputy emir responsible for political affairs, lead the delegation, which arrived on Monday on the invitation of the foreign ministry.
During the meeting, the Afghan delegation informed the foreign minister of the progress made on the peace deal inked between the US and the Taliban.
“From the start, Pakistan has taken the position that a lasting and permanent solution can only be achieved through dialogue overseen by the Afghans,” said Qureshi during the meeting.
He said that Pakistan had continued to play its role in the peace process under a shared responsibility, the efforts of which paid off when the US and Taliban signed the peace deal in Doha in February.
He expressed the hope that the Afghan leadership would take full advantage of this “rare opportunity”. The foreign minister said that Pakistan wanted the intra-Afghan dialogue to be held as soon as possible to ensure peace in the region.
“Pakistan will continue to play its role in the Afghan peace process and ensure peace in the region,” he said. The delegation thanked the foreign minister for Pakistan’s continued support and role in the Afghan peace process.
On Monday, Qureshi had told a news conference that the delegation would visit the Foreign Office for a formal dialogue on Tuesday (today). He had not, however, shared any details about the length of the delegation’s visit and other engagements during their stay here.
This is the second visit of the Taliban’s political delegation to Pakistan, as they had visited Islamabad previously in October 2019.
In a Twitter post, Taliban political office spokesman Suhail Shaheen had announced that the visiting delegation would discuss “recent developments in Afghanistan’s peace process, relaxation and facilitation of peoples’ movement and trade between the two neighbouring countries, issues related to the Afghan refugees in Pakistan and other related topics”.
He said delegations from Taliban’s political office kept visiting various countries for “furthering positive relations” and “conveying views and stance to the world about the peace process”.
He said the trips had been postponed due to the outbreak of novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19), but they were being resumed as the situation had improved. He said that the Taliban would be visiting some other countries also.