Pakistan Sidelined For Afghan Peace Talks Between US, Taliban in Doha, Qatar

Pakistan has been sidelined for the upcoming Afghan peace talks between the US and Taliban which is to be held in Doha, Qatar next month. So far the US and Taliban officials have held several rounds of talks in the Qatar capital in a bid to end the 18-year long war in Afghanistan.

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Last week, Zalmay Khalilzad, the US special representative for Afghanistan reconciliation, flew from Kabul to Islamabad to have wide-ranging discussions with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi and other officials. He also visited the General Headquarters to meet army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

On Sunday he said “men [and] women, young [and] not-so-young, all will join in intra-Afghan dialogue in Doha [and] eventual negotiations”.

Addressing a weekly press briefing in Islamabad, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said Islamabad had always supported the peace talks and will continue to play its facilitative role for durable peace in Afghanistan, according to Radio Pakistan.

“Dialogue is a good way of resolving all outstanding conflicts”, the spokesperson added.

Speaking on the investigation of the February 14 attack in Jammu and Kashmir, the spokesperson said a further set of questions regarding the Pulwama incident had been handed over to the Indian High Commission.

Islamabad awaits the Indian response to the questions shared with them and New Delhi has so far not provided any actionable intelligence that could lead to Pakistan’s involvement in the Pulwama incident in which over 40 Indian paramilitaries were killed, he added.

Responding to a question regarding Kashmir, Dr Faisal said Pakistan had completely rejected the Indian intention of scrapping Article 370 of its constitution that guarantees autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Kashmir, he added, could be resolved only according to UN Security Council resolutions and aspirations of Kashmiris. The spokesperson said there was credible intelligence that India could launch a misadventure against Pakistan this month, and warned that the country will respond decisively if its resolve is tested.

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