Pakistan to Taliban:  Stay Engaged in Peace Process


KABUL: Pakistan has urged the Taliban to remain engaged with the Afghan peace process, saying violence in Afghanistan would intensify if no advances made in peace negotiations.
As talks between Kabul and the Taliban deadlocked, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi cautioned that violence in Afghanistan could intensify and the country would face another civil war.
In an interview on Monday, Qureshi said that the Taliban should remain involved in the peace process and reconsider their decision to skip talks on Afghanistan’s future.
Following President Joe Biden’s statement that all troops will be pulled out by September 11 this year, the Taliban declared that the group will not participate in any Afghan peace related conference until all foreign forces leave Afghanistan on agreed deadline.
Based on US-Taliban agreement signed in February last year, all foreign troops should withdraw from Afghanistan by May 1, 2021.
“They (Taliban) take their own decisions,” Qureshi told Reuters, “but we will do whatever we can to persuade and convince them that it is in their national interest to stay engaged in Afghan peace talks.”
He said the Taliban should show flexibility on the new withdrawal timetable as the international forces at least clarified to leave Afghanistan.
“The troops will be out, and a date has been set, and the process will begin on May 1 and last until September 11, as result, there is a clear timeline” Qureshi said.