Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation, who is on a three-day visit in Pakistan, said the current opportunity for peace is unique and that he expects practical steps to be taken by all stakeholders in the peace process.
Speaking at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad on Tuesday, Abdullah said Pakistan played a key role in the start of Afghanistan’s peace negotiations and now it has a more important role in helping to end the process successfully and to stand with the people of Afghanistan.
He reiterated that the time has come to go beyond slogans and old statements and theories and turn a new page.
Abdullah said Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are based on mutual respect. He said the current opportunity for peace talks is an important opportunity for the country.
“Considering the current geopolitical context of the region, many new windows of opportunities have opened up. Therefore, more than ever, both countries need to pursue an enhanced level of interaction for a more peaceful and prosperous coexistence,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah reiterated that Afghanistan has changed and that its young, diverse, connected, nation is eager to freely decide its future form of government, corresponding to its unity and diversity.”
He also said that Afghans do not want a terrorist footprint in Afghanistan or to allow any entity to pose a threat to any other nation
Abdullah’s trip to Pakistan comes amid ongoing efforts in Doha to start direct peace negotiations. Both sides of the negotiations have continued to discuss procedural rules of the negotiations in their contact group meetings.
“The current talks offer the best hope. To put the war behind us using patience, dialogue and compromise is to agree to unite the country,” he said.
Abdullah said, “We cannot achieve our aspirations without support from our people and the region, and the further strengthening of our bilateral relations will help us to achieve peace.”
At the same event, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that a negotiated political settlement is the only way to end the conflict in Afghanistan.
Qureshi also said that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan will soon visit Afghanistan.