Intra-Afghan talks best hope to put war behind: Abdullah


KABUL: Progress is being made to mend the ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan as Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation Abdullah Abdullah on Tuesday expressed gratitude to the country for playing a vital role in facilitating the Afghan peace process.

Abdullah is on a three-day day tour to the eastern neighbor to confer on a myriad of issues with Pakistani authorities.

Both the countries reaffirm their commitment to closer ties and the Afghan peace process.

Islamabad and Kabul have strained relations more often than not but progress is seemingly being made as both call for a new era of bilateral relations.

Addressing a conference at the Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad, Abdullah said the neighbors had immensely suffered due to terror groups that were still acting as “spoilers”.

Meanwhile, Abdullah promised that Afghanistan would not let any terror outfit pose a threat to any country.

Ongoing peace parleys between the Afghan government and the Taliban in the capital of Qatar represented an important opportunity, he acknowledged. The negotiations offered “the best hope to put the war behind us”, he said, adding Kabul’s negotiating team had been directed to demonstrate patience and flexibility.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi also echoed Abdullah’s sentiments in a statement at the same event. “[We need to have] recognition of the mistakes of the past,” said Qureshi.

“Unless we recognize that, how do we move forward? Let’s not shy away from reality. Let’s accept reality and add a new chapter to our bilateral relations and build a common future for ourselves.”

Pakistan had no favorites in Afghanistan and did not want to meddle in the internal affairs of the neighboring country, the minister explained. “We respect your sovereignty, your independence and your territorial integrity.”