US envoy appreciates Imran’s statement on Afghan peace - GulfToday

US envoy appreciates Imran’s statement on Afghan peace

Imran-China

Imran Khan arrives to attend a welcoming banquet for the Belt and Road Forum hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan in Beijing on Friday. Reuters

Tariq Butt / NNI

US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad on Friday said he “greatly appreciate[s]” a statement issued by Prime Minister Imran Khan a day earlier in which the latter regretted a new wave of violence “from all sides” in Afghanistan and reiterated Islamabad’s support for the peace process in the war-torn country.

“Greatly appreciate @ImranKhanPTI’s statement yesterday on Afghanistan,” Khalilzad said in a tweet.

He said Imran’s “appeal for reduction of violence and policy against promoting internal conflict in other nations has [the] potential to positively transform the region and give Pakistan a leading role.”

In the view of recent wave of violence in Afghanistan and the collapse of intra-Afghan dialogue, Imran asserted “Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan anymore.”

A statement was issued by the Prime Minister Office on Thursday stated, “Pakistan is highly dismayed by the surge of violence in Afghanistan from all sides. The so called offensives are condemnable and will undermine the peace process. It is not right to seek an edge in dialogue through coercion.”

Calling all parties to recognise the importance of the moment and seize it, the prime minister further said in the statement, “Pakistan has committed all diplomatic and security capital to success of [the] peace process. Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in

Afghanistan anymore.”

Responding to the new wave of violence in Afghanistan, Imran on Thursday issued a condemnatory statement saying Pakistan is highly dismayed by the developments.

The Afghanistan conflict has brought great suffering for both Afghanistan and Pakistan over the last 40 years, the statement said. “Now, after a long wait, the Afghanistan Peace Process presents a historic opportunity for peace in the region and Pakistan is fully supporting the process, including the next logical step of Intra-Afghan Dialogue wherein Afghans will themselves decide upon the future of their country.”

The statement said that in this backdrop, Pakistan is highly dismayed by the surge of violence in Afghanistan from all sides. The so called offensives are condemnable and will undermine the peace process. It is not right to seek an edge in dialogue through coercion, it added.

It said Pakistan implores all parties to recognise the importance of the moment and seize it. Pakistan has committed all diplomatic and security capital to success of the peace process. Pakistan will not be party to any internal conflict in Afghanistan anymore, it read.

The statement was made as a United Nations report revealed that more Afghan civilians were killed by Nato and Afghan security forces than Taliban and other terrorist groups in the first quarter of 2019. The report said that 305 civilians were killed by Nato and Afghan forces, while terrorist groups were responsible for the killing of 227 people.

The UN Assistance Mission for Afghanistan documented 581 deaths, including 150 children, between January 1 and March 31 this year. Civilian casualties were mostly caused by air strikes and ground search operations by the security forces.

Taliban this month announced the spring offensive, whereas the security forces intensified their crackdown. This has led to a sharp escalation in the fighting between the two sides.

“Pakistan implores all parties to recognise the importance of the moment and seize it,” Imran said in his statement and recalled that his government had “committed all diplomatic and security capital” for the success of peace initiatives in Afghanistan.

Pakistan had facilitated dialogue between the Taliban and the United States and has been encouraging intra-Afghan dialogue. Refusal by the Afghan Taliban to talk to government representatives has remained the biggest hurdle to the start of the intra-Afghan process. A meeting of the Taliban with a group of Afghan politicians, which was to be held on April 14, was cancelled because the Taliban had reservations over the 250-member delegation that was planning to meet them.

On the surface, the talks seem to be progressing to the satisfaction of both sides — the US and the Taliban — but the incumbent Afghan regime has largely been excluded from the negotiations and hostilities between Kabul and the Taliban show no signs of abating.