ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (Rahnuma): A 57-member Afghan delegation arrived in Pakistan to attend a two-day peace conference in the hill station of Bhurban, Murree on Saturday.
The meeting, titled the “Lahore Process,” is being led by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.
For years, Pakistan has been accused of seeing Afghanistan in terms of “strategic depth,” meaning that in the event of war with India, Pakistani forces could withdraw over its western border into Afghanistan to regroup and fight back from there.
“Let this be absolutely clear: No one in Pakistan subscribes to any notion of so-called ‘strategic depth’ in Afghanistan,” Qureshi said in the opening address.
“We support an Afghanistan that is at peace with itself and with its neighbors,” he added, reiterating his government’s determination to help its neighbor find a negotiable solution to a war against Taliban insurgents that is in its 17th year.
The peace conference in Bhurban is an initiative of the Lahore Center for Peace and Research (LCPR) co-organized and moderated by the South Asian Strategic Stability Institute. Delegates representing 18 political parties and groups, including Pakistani government officials and experts, are participating.
Discussions on viable paths to peace and stability in Afghanistan, trade, the economy, health, women’s empowerment, reconstruction, development, and regional connectivity are on the agenda.
“We must not allow other forces to create differences between us,” Qureshi said, in a veiled reference to India.