Appreciating Pakistan’s “sincere and positive role in the Afghan peace process”, President Ashraf Ghani has said that the role of Islamabad is critical for peace in Afghanistan due to its influence on the Taliban.

President Ghani acknowledged Islamabad’s importance in the Afghan peace process in a meeting with Pakistan army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and General Sir Nick Carter, Britain’s Chief of the Defense Staff and Head of the British Armed Forces, in Kabul on Sunday, the Presidential Palace said.

The president had said “countries in the region, especially Pakistan, is critical for the restoration of peace in Afghanistan,” the Palace said in a statement.

The peace process, Afghanistan’s relations with Pakistan, Islamabad’s role in the peace process and the end of violence in Afghanistan were discussed in the meeting.

President Ghani said the two countries have no option but mutual respect and good neighbourly and economic cooperation, according to the statement.

He said that the Afghanistan conflict does not have a military solution. The Taliban’s insistence on a military solution is not acceptable for Afghan people who want a just and enduring peace through negotiations, he added.

The Afghan president said stability in both countries is connected with the other and called for a sincere role to be played by Pakistan in ensuring a just and enduring peace in Afghanistan.

An ISPR press release said COAS General Bajwa reiterated that a peaceful Afghanistan means a peaceful region in general and a peaceful Pakistan in particular.

“We will always support the “Afghan-led-Afghan-owned” peace process based on [the] mutual consensus of all stakeholders,” the army chief said.

GEN BAJWA MEETS ABDULLAH: Later, General Bajwa met with Abdullah Abdullah, head of the High Council for National Reconciliation.

General Bajwa said that Pakistan believes that there is no military solution in Afghanistan and that the only way is through achieving a political solution via negotiations and agreement on the establishment of an all-inclusive government, according to a statement by Abdullah’s office.

Abdullah said that the Taliban wants to impose a military solution but this will prolong the violence and will fuel people’s opposition against the group.

A peaceful Afghanistan in which the Taliban would be a part of its system is favoured by Afghans, regional countries and the world, he added.

Abdullah reiterated that a military solution is not practical and is not acceptable to the people of Afghanistan.

Both sides stressed the need for meaningful negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Taliban, the statement said.

General Bajwa’s trip to Kabul comes as the Taliban has announced a ceasefire for three days of Eid. President Ghani also ordered Afghan forces to observe the ceasefire, but he reiterated that there should be an agreement from the Taliban for a permanent and real ceasefire which is the demand of the people and the government of Afghanistan.


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