‘PAKISTAN TO EXTEND ALL POSSIBLE SUPPORT FOR DURABLE PEACE IN AFGHANISTAN’, IMRAN TELLS ERDOGAN
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that Pakistan would continue to extend all possible support to the efforts for a political solution for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister Office, PM Imran expressed these remarks during a telephone call from Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two leaders discussed issues of mutual interest including further strengthening of bilateral relations in all areas.
In the regional context, the official statement said, the prime minister stressed the importance of a negotiated political settlement of the conflict in Afghanistan ahead of the recently announced US forces' withdrawal from the war-torn country.
It said that the premier highlighted that Pakistan has fully supported and facilitated the US-Taliban peace agreement and the subsequent initiation of intra-Afghan negotiations.
He stressed that the intra-Afghan negotiations provided a historic opportunity which must be seized by the Afghan leadership to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.
Appreciating Turkey’s role, the prime minister said that Pakistan would continue to extend all possible support to the efforts for a political solution for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan.
It was agreed that the momentum of high-level exchanges would be continued to transform bilateral relations into strategic economic partnership.
The two leaders also exchanged felicitations on the advent of the holy month of Ramazan.
Earlier, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa welcomed US President Joe Biden’s announcement of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by Septembers this year.
The statement comes after Angela Ageler, US Charge d’ Affairs to Pakistan, called on General Qamar, a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said.
During the meeting, matters of mutual interest and overall regional security situation including recent developments in Afghan peace process were discussed in detail, it added.
“The COAS welcomed President Biden’s announcement of withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan by September 2021,” the ISPR handout read.
The Foreign Office also called for progress in the peace process before all foreign forces leave Afghanistan in a first formal reaction to Biden's announcement to end the longest foreign war in American history.
While the Biden administration said troops withdrawal cannot be conditioned based any more, Islamabad believes that drawdown has to be accompanied by progress in the peace process.
This means that Pakistan in so many words want the foreign forces to stay on till some tangible progress is made in the peace efforts.
"In our view, it is important that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with the progress in the peace process," the FO said in a formal reaction to the Biden's decision to complete the troop withdrawal by September 11.