Dialogue only way forward: Qureshi to Afghan Taliban

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Islamabad, Oct 3 (IANS) Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Thursday met the Afghan Taliban delegation here and said that the ongoing Afghan war can only be resolved through dialogue.

According to a press release issued by the Foreign Office, Qureshi welcomed the Taliban delegation at the Foreign Ministry and said that Pak-Afghan ties are based on brotherly relations, historical, religious and cultural links, Geo TV reported.

“Both countries are equally facing the consequences of instability in Afghanistan over the past 40 years,” Qureshi told the delegation, according to the daily. He added that Pakistan believes that “war is not the solution to the situation in Afghanistan and dialogue is the only way forward”.

Qureshi said Pakistan played the mediator’s role in the Afghan peace progress and emphasized that a peaceful Afghanistan was necessary for peace and stability in the entire region.

A day earlier, the Foreign Office said in a statement that Pakistan “extended an invitation to the Taliban Political Commission (TPC) in Doha for a visit”.

Shortly before the announcement, Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen had said that Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, a co-founder of the Taliban and head of their political office in Qatar, would lead the delegation during talks on important issues with Pakistani officials in Islamabad.

News of the visit came amidst reports that US special envoy for the Afghan peace process, Zalmay Khalilzad, was also in Pakistan.

According to Geo News, the Afghan Taliban delegation lauded Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process and urged for the resumption of dialogue with the US.

Afghan Taliban spokesperson Suhail Shaheen said: “We are negotiating with Pakistan on a peaceful solution to the Afghan conflict.”

–IANS

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