The Afghan government does not have details on a possible visit of Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan to Kabul but officials said Kabul wants to see practical steps by Islamabad in the peace process.
Pakistani media reported on Sunday that Khan may soon visit Afghanistan over Afghan peace process as Washington and Islamabad come closer after long tensions.
Addressing reporters in Kabul, presidential spokesman Sediq Sediqqi said there are no details about the time and the agenda of Mr. Khan’s visit to Kabul.
“We expect Pakistan to take practical steps in the peace process and in ending the war in Afghanistan,” Mr. Sediqqi said. “So far, we have not seen any steps [by Pakistan]. The Taliban’s main resources and their training centers are still located in Pakistan. We hope to see practical steps by Pakistan.”
But a senior Pakistani official reiterated on Sunday that Islamabad believes in a political settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan.
Addressing reporters in Islamabad, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the Taliban were ready for negotiations and Pakistan was playing the role of a mediator for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan.
Qureshi said Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had some reservations over negotiations with the Taliban which had been removed by Pakistan.
“Imran Khan has always said that if you want to establish durable peace and stability in Afghanistan, then you need to find a political way out,” Qureshi said.
Afghan critics said that “terrorists’ safe havens” should be eliminated in Pakistan if Islamabad is honest in its bid to help the Afghan peace process.
“If the Pakistanis act with honesty and sincerity in restoring peace and security, terrorists’ safe havens and the Taliban bases in Pakistan should be closed before he [Imran Khan] visits Kabul,” political analyst Abdul Hafiz Mansour said.
Sources have said that a 15-member delegation among them representatives of civil society institutions, political parties and movements, women and seven of them representing President Ghani and Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah will hold talks with the Taliban in Norway within the next two weeks.
Meanwhile, Pierre Mayaudon, Ambassador and Head of EU Delegation in Afghanistan, said that recent intra-Afghan dialogue conference in Doha has led to further milestone in the peace process.
“Positive result, positive outcome of the Doha intra-Afghan dialogue just a few weeks ago. So now in line, we see further milestones,” he said.
However, on July 28, the US Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad clarified that the talks will happen after the United States “concludes its own agreement” with the Taliban.
On July 27, the State Minister for Peace Abdul Salam Rahimi said that direct talks between the Afghan government and Taliban will start within the next two weeks and that it will be held in a European country.
Khalilzad also clarified in a tweet that the negotiations “will take place between the Taliban and an inclusive and effective national negotiating team consisting of senior government officials, key political party representatives, civil society and women.