Pakistan has expressed hope for peace in Afghanistan, but at the same time said that responsibility for a reduction in violence in that country “cannot be shouldered by the Taliban alone”.
The comments were made by Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi during a press conference in Islamabad on Wednesday following a meeting with an Afghan Taliban delegation led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Qureshi said Pakistan wants a reduction in violence and wants it to proceed towards a ceasefire. “For a stable Afghanistan, a comprehensive and inclusive settlement is required,” he told the media.
A delegation of the Taliban Political Commission (TPC), headed by Baradar, arrived in Islamabad under tight security on Wednesday on a three-day trip during which the delegation will also be meeting with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
In his press conference, Qureshi said that peace talks have now begun, but the reduction in violence that was expected is so far not being witnessed.
“This responsibility cannot be placed on the shoulders of the Taliban alone. All sides will have to play a role,” he said, adding that there are many reasons for the violence and the Afghan delegation had shared their views with Pakistan on the matter.
“From their discussions, I could sense seriousness towards achieving peace,” Qureshi added.
He also announced that the next round of talks between the US and the Afghan Taliban for peace in Afghanistan will commence on January 5. He said that the venue is yet to be decided.
The foreign minister said that in the discussions that were held, Pakistan once yet presented its view that there is no military solution for continued peace in Afghan.
The foreign office said in a statement that Pakistan will keep supporting an “inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement for durable peace, stability, and prosperity in Afghanistan and the region”.
The visit comes days after US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, announced that the Afghanistan peace process has reached a “significant milestone”.
Khalilzad said on Twitter that the two sides had recognised a three-page agreement that codifies rules and procedures for negotiations on a political roadmap and a “comprehensive ceasefire”.
Pakistan had welcomed the announcement of the agreement, saying it reflected “a common resolve of parties to secure a negotiated settlement”.
But it also warned the world against spoilers in the peace process, saying that New Delhi was against peace and stability in the war-torn country.