Pak supports US-Taliban talks

Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday said it supported the latest round of talks between the Afghan Taliban and the United States.
Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan supported the latest round of talks between the Afghan Taliban and other stakeholders to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.
“Along with international community and other stakeholders, Pakistan is committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Talks are being held in UAE. We hope this will end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region,” he said.
A Pakistan-arranged meeting between US and Taliban officials was held Monday in the United Arab Emirates to find a political solution to the decades-long war in Afghanistan.
The special representative for Afghan reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, led the US team at the talks in Abu Dhabi.
Khalilzad is visiting regional countries to gather support for Afghan peace talks. He is 14 days into an 18-day visit to the region and has already visited Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belgium.
Since taking office in September, the Afghan-born US special envoy had held two meetings with the Taliban in Qatar, where the insurgent group operates its so-called “political office.”
Islamabad had facilitated the Monday’s dialogue after President Donald Trump wrote to Prime Minister Imran Khan earlier this month seeking his cooperation in bringing the Taliban to the table for peace negotiations.
Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid confirmed participation of its political negotiators in Monday’s meeting with American officials.  Representatives of the host country, Pakistan, UAE and Saudi Arabia will also be in attendance.
The Taliban say the presence of international forces in Afghanistan was the main obstacle to peace but have said that issues including mutual recognition with the Kabul government, constitutional changes and women’s rights can be negotiated.
On Saturday, Washington said it welcomed actions Pakistan is taking to promote a negotiated solution to the war in neighboring Afghanistan.
“The United States welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a US embassy spokesperson in Kabul said.
In his speech on Friday, PM Khan said that if peace were achieved in Afghanistan, his country will be the immediate beneficiary in terms of security, economic stability and regional connectivity.