The Afghan government on Monday said that the regional countries have a significant role to play in the Afghan peace process.
Stefano Pontecorvo, the NATO Senior Civilian Representative to Afghanistan, also called on the regional players to support peace and long-term stability in Afghanistan.
This comes as Abdullah Abdullah, the chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation, traveled from Kabul to Islamabad on Monday morning for a three-day official visit that will include meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan, as well as the president and other Pakistani officials.
Abdullah on Monday morning met with Shah Mahmoud Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister.
Qureshi welcomed Abdullah to Pakistan and expressed hope that his visit “will open a new chapter in bilateral ties, further strengthen relations" and "forge a common understanding" on the Afghan peace process, said Pakistan's foreign ministry in a tweet.
Kabul expects that Islamabad, considering its leverage with the Taliban, will help the Afghan government to restore peace.
“Pakistan has an important role in Afghan affairs. We expect that all countries, including Pakistan, play a constructive role in the Afghan peace process so that this process succeeds,” said Faraidoon Khawzon, a spokesman for the High Council of National Reconciliation.
“There is a perception both in the US and Afghanistan that if Pakistan uses its leverage, there is the possibility that the Afghan peace process will reach a better conclusion,” said Tahir Khan, a Pakistani journalist.
“Iran plays a negative role in the Afghan peace process. Iran is not willing to see the process move ahead under the influence of the US and NATO and see absolute Sunni dominance in the country,” said Nasrullah Stanekzai, a university lecturer in Kabul.
But will rivalry between India and Pakistan, political tensions between the United States and Iran, and differences between the United States and Russia have a negative effect on the Afghan peace process?
Although Iran did not participate in the inauguration of intra-Afghan talks in Doha on September 12, last week the Iranian embassy in Kabul said that Tehran strongly supports the talks between the Afghan factions and the Taliban.
“Iran strongly denounces any sort of political opportunism and business profiteering, particularly the US government’s exploitation of the intra-Afghan talks for electoral purposes,” the Iranian embassy in Kabul said in a statement last week.
“NATO supports Afghanistan and Pakistan strengthening their ties in support of the Afghan Peace Process and calls on all regional actors to support Afghanistan’s long-term stability,” NATO in Afghanistan tweeted.
On Saturday, Marshal Abdul Rashid Dostum travelled to India where he met top Indian officials including Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.
In the meeting, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said that India strongly supports the Afghan-owned and Afghan-led peace process.