Pak welcomes new round of talks between the US, Taliban in UAE
Islamabad: Pakistan on Monday welcomed a new round of talks sponsored by it between the Taliban and US officials, in the United Arab Emirates, in an attempt to end the bloodshed in neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan.
Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Mohammad Faisal said on Twitter that the latest round of talks were being held in the UAE.
He also said Pakistan along-with the international community and other stake-holders was committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan to end the 17-year war.
“Along with international community and other stake-holders, Pakistan is committed to peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Talks are being held in the UAE. We hope this will end bloodshed in Afghanistan and bring peace to the region,” Faisal tweeted.
The Taliban on Monday said that they were holding “another” meeting with US officials in the UAE, which also include representatives of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the UAE.
According to diplomatic sources, Pakistan had helped in arranging the direct talks between the US and Taliban, creating a ray of hope for end of conflict, after US President Donald Trump wrote a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan, earlier this month, formally seeking Islamabad’s help in arranging the talks with Taliban.
US special peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, reportedly, already held two rounds of talks with Taliban leaders in Qatar.
This is the second time that Pakistan has arranged direct talks between the US and Taliban representatives after a similar initiative fell apart after an open meeting in 2015 at the hill resort of Murree, near Islamabad.
Khan, after taking office in August, had made it clear that Pakistan wanted to establish peaceful ties with all its neighbours.
Trump had earlier this year accused Pakistan of doing nothing despite take billions of dollars from the US. Washington had also suspended millions of dollars in military aid to Islamabad.
In one of the America’s longest war, the US has spent over USD 1 trillion in Afghanistan since the coalition forces ousted the Taliban in 2001.
Meanwhile, the US has said that it welcomes Pakistan’s efforts to promote peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban, a media report said on Monday.
The acknowledgement on Sunday came a day after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Pakistan had arranged another round of talks between the US and Taliban officials but he did not say when and where, the Dawn report said.
But Voice of America (VOA) radio’s Dari service reported on Sunday that US special representative Zalmay Khalilzad is likely to meet Taliban representatives in Islamabad on Monday. Previous talks were held in Doha, Qatar.
“The US welcomes any actions by the Pakistani government to promote greater cooperation, including fostering negotiations between the Taliban, the Afghan government, and other Afghans,” a US embassy spokesperson in Kabul told VOA.
Khalilzad, had met, and would continue to meet, all interested parties, including the Taliban, to support a negotiated settlement to the conflict in Afghanistan, the spokesperson added.