Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

Amid Af-Pak Rows, Qureshi to Visit Kabul this Week

Amid Af-Pak Rows, Qureshi to Visit Kabul this Week

KABUL - Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi will visit Kabul this week to sort out differences on key issues, including action against irreconcilable Taliban militants, an official said on Monday.
On his first foreign trip since the inauguration of the new Pakistani government last month, Qureshi will arrive in Kabul on September 15 for talks with his Afghan counterpart and President Ashraf Ghani.
“The neighbours remain deeply divided on key questions like peace talks with the Taliban, counter-terrorism strategies, transit trade and the refugee crisis,” a Foreign Office source told Pajhwok Afghan News.
During his last week’s visit to Islamabad, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly pleaded with the Pakistani leadership to support the Afghan government’s initiative to make peace with the Taliban.
The official speaking on condition of anonymity, acknowledged the two sides remained poles apart on counter-terrorism and other intractable issues. Pakistan, he said, was in favour of dialogue between Kabul and Taliban.
“However, our position is that the movement should not be coerced into peace parleys at a time when militant-linked violence has spiked across Afghanistan. The situation may further deteriorate if the Taliban are railroaded into dialogue,” he argued.
On the other hand, the official explained, the Ashraf Ghani administration wants Islamabad to use its clout with the insurgent movement and convince it to launch negotiations with Kabul. He says Pakistan should expel the Taliban leaders who are not ready for talks.
“We understand the Taliban, who have already embarked on clandestine talks with the US and observed a truce during Eidul Fitr, will eventually agree to talks with the Afghan government,” the source believed.
During his daylong trip, Qureshi is expected to deliver an invitation from Prime Minister Imran Khan to President Ghani to visit Islamabad. “We hope the neighbours will opt for mending fences.” (Pajhwok)