Pak-US joint commitment

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PAKISTAN and the United States on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to continue cooperating with each other for peace in Afghanistan. The resolve was expressed in a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) after a meeting between Army Chief Gen Qamar Bajwa and US Special Representative for Afghan Reconciliation Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.
The continued closer cooperation and interaction between the two important players of the Afghan game augurs well for the success of the peace talks being held in Doha, Qatar. It is encouraging that as a result of mutual consultations the process of dialogue is moving forward in a slow but gradual and firm manner. The talks in Doha started in September 2020 and despite odds and challenges the two sides were able to agree on the ‘principles and procedures’. The stumbling block is the insistence of Taliban not to agree to a ceasefire at this point of time while the Kabul Government is pressing for a ceasefire. There is no doubt that violence and attacks/counter-attacks poison the atmosphere for talks and create misgivings and misunderstandings and, therefore, a salutary environment definitely requires a halt to fighting. In this backdrop, Pakistan has conveyed to the Afghan Government that it would go to any extent to help reduce violence and during his recent meeting with Afghan Minister for Industry and Commerce Nisar Ahmed Faizi Ghoryani, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed support of the country for restoration of durable peace in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s quest for peace in Afghanistan was understandable as its dream of making the country as a hub for regional trade and regional connectivity are deeply linked to genuine peace in the neighboring country. It is, however, quite obvious that some powers are trying to undermine the process of dialogue and restoration of peace to Afghanistan and that is why there is a need to keep a check on the activities of spoilers. There is evidence that most of the acts of violence and terrorism in Afghanistan in the recent past are linked to this conspiracy and such attempts would continue until and unless the US too conveys a firm message to the spoilers, which are fully known. It is also important to note that the US military on Monday blamed the Taliban for a spate of killings in Afghanistan, which amounted to harming the cause of peace talks. Instead of publicly indulging in blame game, efforts should be made to boost mutual trust and factors leading to violence may also be addressed satisfactorily including complaints of Taliban about continued bombing of their targets by US forces.

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