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New plans for Intra-Afghan talks

OVER the last few months, the United States indeed has shown the genuine seriousness and is actively engaged to make the Afghan reconciliation process meaningful and successful and this is the reason that hopes are also running very high despite the recent impasse in talks.
US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad held talks with Pakistani officials on Friday in which he shared his new plans for breaking the deadlock on intra Afghan dialogue and getting the Afghan factions to commence their negotiations. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the discussions with Zalmay focused on how to move forward. He said the US wants to bring together all Afghan factions including the government and different segments of the society and begin discussions on the lines of the Moscow Format. Undoubtedly an inclusive reconciliation process led and owned by the Afghans is the way forward and this has also been the persistence stance of Pakistan to achieve the objective of peace and stability in the war torn country. As regards the Moscow Format, this very Russian initiative brought together regional countries and various Afghan Groups for talks on ending the conflict in Afghanistan. It is considered a successful model because for the first time it managed to bring together Taliban and non-government Afghan politicians for discussing ways and means for a peaceful settlement. In our view, besides Pakistan, the US side should also take on board Russia and China and use their good offices for bringing the Taliban and the Afghan government on the table of negotiations. Doing so will definitely help push forward the reconciliation process and remove misunderstanding between the two sides. Both the Afghan government and the Taliban also need to demonstrate greater flexibility in their respective stances in order to steer the country out of decades of conflict that has badly affected their people. There is also need to be careful of the elements who on such important occasions have always thrown a spanner in the works to impede the peace process.