Return of peace in Afghanistan will have lasting benefits for region: PM


Islamabad: Feb 18, 2021 (TNS): Prime Minister Imran Khan has said return of peace in Afghanistan will have lasting benefits for the region and beyond, through economic development, regional trade, and improved connectivity.

He was talking to Head of Massoud Foundation of Afghanistan Ahmad Wali Massoud, who called on him in Islamabad on Thursday.

The Prime Minister reiterated his conviction that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and that a negotiated political settlement is the only way forward. He said after Afghanistan, Pakistan is the most desirous to see return of peace in Afghanistan as it is deeply affected by the conflict.

In the context of Afghan peace process, the Prime Minister highlighted that Pakistan has extended full support to facilitate the US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the initiation of Intra-Afghan Negotiations. He stressed that the Intra-Afghan Negotiations provides a historic opportunity which must be seized by the Afghan leadership to achieve an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement.

The Prime Minister said Pakistan has been emphasizing to all sides to work together constructively, take steps for reduction of violence leading to ceasefire, and secure a political solution for a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.

Imran Khan further highlighted the range of steps, including introduction of a liberal visa regime and increased facilitation in bilateral and transit trade to further strengthen fraternal ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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He said Pakistan’s assistance for Afghanistan’s development efforts and human resource capacity-building will continue apace.

Extending war welcome to Ahmad Wali Massoud, Imran Khan said Pakistan and Afghanistan are bound by a fraternal relationship, rooted deep in shared history and commonalities of faith, culture and traditions.

He recalled the historic contribution of the late Ahmed Shah Massoud, who was a key Mujahideen leader, during the Afghan resistance movement.

The visit of Ahmad Wali Massoud and his delegation is in continuation of Pakistan’s policy to reach out to Afghan leaders to further strengthen bilateral ties and enhance mutual convergence on the Afghan peace process.