Staff Reporter Islamabad
Pakistan has decided to postpone the Afghan Peace Conference, which was scheduled from July 17-19, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said on Friday.
“The Afghan Peace Conference scheduled to be held in Islamabad from 17-19 July 2021 has been postponed until after Eid Al-Adha […] The new dates of the conference will be announced later,” he added.
The development comes after Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to “cancel” the conference.
President Ghani had himself wished for a conference to be held in Islamabad with an Afghan government delegation as well as Taliban delegation in attendance.
“However, the Taliban were not ready for this, and neither did Qatar want peace talks to be shifted from Doha to elsewhere,” a news channel said.
Pakistan had invited representatives from the Afghanistan government, former Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Abdullah Abdullah, who leads the High Council for National Reconciliation, and other senior leaders of the country.
However, the Afghan government excused themselves from the meeting, while Karzai and Abdullah had neither accepted nor rejected the invitation.
Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Haji Muhammad Mohaqiq, Dr Omar Zakhilwal, and around 30-40 other leaders had accepted the invitation — and all the preparations to host them were in place.
“[Then], during President Ashraf Ghani’s meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan today in Uzbekistan, the Afghan leader requested the latter to cancel the conference, as one of their delegations had departed for Doha,” he said.