Pakistan asks Taliban to remain engaged in Afghan Peace process

Pakistan urged the Afghan Taliban to stay engaged in the Afghan peace process with the USA.

On Monday, April 19, 2021, Pakistan urged the Taliban to stay engaged in the Afghan peace process. Since an armed group from Afghanistan said that, that it will dismiss the negotiations with the USA. They said that they would do so until the USA withdraws all its troops from Afghanistan.

Accordingly, the Taliban decided to suspend the Afghan Peace process talks right after the US changed the deadline for withdrawal. The USA said that it will withdraw all its troops by September 11 2021 instead of May 1st, 2021. The previous date was set during the Trump administration, however, the Biden administration feels that it is not possible to abide by.

Consequently, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister said “They make their own decisions. but we will do whatever we can to convince them that it is in their national interest to remain engaged.” He added that the Taliban have largely succeeded in their objective.

Subsequently, Turkey scheduled to host a conference on Saturday, April 24 2021 for the peace process. Diplomats had hoped it could create new momentum towards a political settlement between the Taliban and the Afghan government. However, the refusal has thrown the Afghan peace process into chaos.

On the other hand, Mr Qureshi said that the delays regarding the withdrawal were always a possibility due to logistics. However, the Taliban had largely succeeded in their objective for foreign troops to withdraw. So now they should show flexibility towards the September 11, 2021 withdrawal deadline and remain engaged in the peace process.

Furthermore, Mr Qureshi said “The troops will be out, a date has been given and the process starts on May 1. It goes on until September 11. So there is a definite time frame.”

According to sources, Pakistan is putting pressure on the Taliban to stay on the table for the Afghan peace process.

Moreover, Mr Qureshi said he believed the Taliban would benefit from staying involved in the peace process. However, he claimed that he had no contact with the group.

Accordingly, Pakistan helped facilitate US-Taliban negotiations in Doha regarding the Afghan peace process. The talks resulted in the initial May 1, 2021 withdrawal deal.

Pakistan hosts about three million Afghan refugees and economic migrants. However, now it has built 90% of a fence along its border with Afghanistan which will be completed by September 2021.

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