Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will visit Afghanistan on December 15 to hold talks with top Afghan leadership on “political reconciliation and durable peace” in the war-torn country.
Qureshi announced his visit to Kabul after US President Donald Trump sent a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, seeking Pakistan’s help with stuttering Afghan peace talks and support in bringing the Taliban to the negotiating table to end the 17-year brutal war in the country.
Addressing a ceremony in Multan on Saturday, Qureshi said it was the robustness of Pakistan’s foreign policy that the US requested for assistance in Afghan issue, Radio Pakistan reported. He said Pakistan was committed to Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.
The foreign minister said “he will visit Kabul on December 15 to hold talks with “Afghan leadership on political reconciliation and durable peace in Afghanistan.” Trump’s letter was followed by visit to Islamabad by US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalizad who held talks with top officials and also called on Queshi and the prime minister.
It would be Qureshi’s second trip to Kabul after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government came to power in August.
In the letter, Trump “stated that his most important regional priority was achieving a negotiated settlement of the Afghan war. In this regard, he has sought Pakistan’s support and facilitation,” the Foreign Office said.
The president also acknowledged that the war had cost both the US and Pakistan, and emphasised that both the countries “should explore opportunities to work together and renew partnership”.
The Trump administration, in the recent months, has intensified its efforts to seek a negotiated settlement of America’s longest war in Afghanistan where the US has lost over 2,400 soldiers since late 2001, when it invaded the country after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The Taliban are fighting to flush out international forces and re-establish their regime in Afghanistan after their ouster in 2001. Pakistan and Afghanistan are trying to improve ties despite lingering suspicions and mistrust about each other.’
Addressing the ceremony in Multan, Qureshi also said that Pakistan made the decision of opening Kartarpur Corridor to facilitate Sikh pilgrims. “This step gave a message of peace and love from Pakistan,” he said. He said Pakistan’s foreign policy “is on a positive trajectory based on national interest and self-reliance.”