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Pakistan sees progress in peace talks optimistically

Pakistan Sees Progress in Stalemated Afghan Peace Process Optimistically

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s military said Monday that efforts aimed at moving forward a stalemated peace process in Afghanistan are “progressing in a very positive direction.”
Comments by army spokesman Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar follow last Friday’s visit to Pakistan by US Central Command Chief Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, where he discussed with the country’s military leadership political reconciliation and peace between Afghan warring parties.
The statement also comes as US President Joe Biden is nearing a decision whether to pull out the remaining 2,500 US troops from Afghanistan by May 1 in line with a February 2020 agreement his predecessor, Donald Trump, signed with the Afghan Taliban.
“There are all the reasons to be optimistic about how things are advancing,” Iftikhar said at a news conference on Monday. He did not elaborate.
Iftikhar reiterated that his country is helping in the Afghan peace process because “peace in Pakistan is absolutely connected to peace in Afghanistan.”
Meanwhile, Asad Majeed Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, said last Friday that Washington should not decide unilaterally on any extension of the May 1 deadline.
“If that is an agreement between the United States and [the] Taliban, I think the first party that needs to be consulted is [the] Taliban, and that’s where this process should start,” Khan told an online forum sponsored by the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank.
“I am sure if there is a strong justification and reasoning for having that extension for logistical or other reasons, the parties have overcome difficulties before, in terms of reaching common ground. But to present this as a fait accompli, I think, will only create difficulty,” the Pakistani ambassador said.
“It’s really also a question of the credibility of the United States as an interlocutor,” he stressed.
(Sahar News)

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