Pakistan PM on first visit to Afghanistan to discuss peace negotiations

Kabul, Nov 29 (efe-epa).- Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday arrived in Kabul for his first official visit to Afghanistan since assuming office in 2018, with the ongoing peace process between the Afghan government and the Taliban being part of the agenda.

The day-long visit that includes a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, apart from other government officials, comes at a time when the peace talks between Kabul and the rebels have reached a deadlock in Doha.

“Prime Minister Imran Khan arriving in Kabul on a day long visit. (…) Look forward to a productive visit,” Pakistani Ambassador in Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan tweeted.

An Afghan government official told EFE on the condition of anonymity that Khan “will meet President Ashraf Ghani to discuss Afghan peace process and the development of bilateral relations, security and regional economic cooperation between the two countries.”

As part of special security measures for the Pakistani PM, the Afghan government on Thursday declared a holiday in all government and private offices in Kabul, while all the roads leading to the airport and the presidential palace have been closed for traffic.

Afghanistan has long accused Islamabad of harboring and supporting the Taliban in its territory while the militants have waged a war against Afghan troops for 19 years. However, Pakistan has denied the allegations.

“We need to see practical steps by Pakistan regarding Afghanistan” particularly in areas of peace and security in the country, Afghan presidential palace spokesperson Sediq Sediqqi said Tuesday in a press conference regarding Khan’s visit.

The Taliban and the Afghan government have been holding peace talks in Doha since early September to bring an end to the Afghan war, raging since 2001 when the US invaded the country.

The United States brokered the intra-Afghan peace talks after the Taliban-US peace agreement was signed in Doha in February.

Washington has agreed for a full withdrawal of troops in 14 months in return for security guarantees that the Taliban would not use the Afghan soil for attacks against foreign countries, particularly the US.

Moreover, the Taliban also promised not to launch large-scale attacks in urban areas, including the district centers.

However, a string of attacks and offensives launched within the past few weeks have raised concerns about the Taliban’s inability to keep their promises, and is seen as tactics to gain leverage in the negotiations. EFE-EPA


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