Pakistan urges early restart of Afghan talks


Observer Report

United Nations

Pakistan has expressed the hope that the U.S.-Taliban talks, which were abruptly suspended over the weekend, would soon resume and open the way towards intra-Afghan negotiations that would lead to a peaceful settlement of the long-drawn conflict in Afghanistan.
“We hope the suspension of the peace talks is only a pause and will resume sooner rather than later as the alternative is a surge in violence, which could push Afghanistan into even more turbulent and uncertain phase than has been witnessed so far,” Ambassador Maleeha Lodhi told the UN Security Council, while assuring of Pakistan’s role as a facilitator of the Afghan peace process.
Speaking in a debate on the situation in Afghanistan, she said Pakistan had always condemned violence and called for all sides to exercise restraint and to remain committed to the peace process out of its belief that there was no military solution to the Afghan conflict.
The Pakistani envoy said that nine rounds of direct talks between the United States and the Taliban had brightened prospects to put in place the first significant foundation of a settlement, raising hope that the parties appeared closer to that goal than at any other time in the past 18 years.
Earlier this week, U.S. President Donald Trump called off peace negotiations with the Taliban that his special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad had been carrying on for almost a year, after the Taliban claimed responsibility for killing 12 people, including a U.S. soldier, in an attack in Kabul.