Afghan President Ashraf Ghani arrives today for the start of a two-day visit in Pakistan, where he will hold meetings with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The primary topic of discussion will be negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban. Pakistan is believed to have influence within the Taliban and Islamabad’s support is considered key to ending the nearly 18-year insurgency.
However, officials remain sceptical of real progress in the peace process following the inaugural Lahore Process conference in Bhurbhan last week. The discussions, which featured both Afghan and Pakistani political leaders, included no representatives from the Taliban. Separately, the US has held talks with the Taliban to find a negotiated exit to its 18-year engagement in Afghanistan, with the next round scheduled for June 29 in Qatar.
Both Kabul and Washington continue to accuse Pakistan of harbouring Taliban militants who launch attacks inside Afghanistan, but President Ghani has said he is hopeful that this new round of talks will move all parties closer to peace. While the Lahore Process has been touted as a blueprint for a peace plan, we are likely to see little progress on that front until a summit that includes representatives from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Taliban.
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