Pakistan, U.S. call for political solution to Afghan conflict

Pakistan, U.S. call for political solution to Afghan conflict

ISLAMABAD (Rahnuma): U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Wednesday called for the political solution to the Afghan issue and the two sides agreed that “present conditions in Afghanistan were conducive to intensifying efforts for a political settlement,” according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry here.

Pompeo, accompanied by U.S. Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford and Zalmay Khalilzad, the newly appointed U.S. advisor to Afghanistan, arrived here Wednesday and also held talks with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“Both sides underscored the need for the Taliban to seize the opportunity for talks in response to (Afghan) President Ashraf Ghani’s offer for an unconditional dialogue,” the statement said.

The Pakistani foreign minister told a press conference after their meeting that his country would help in the peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan for Pakistan’s interests and he added that he would make his first foreign visit to Afghanistan.

Qureshi said that he had noted during the talks that the U.S. has created space for “direct talks with the Taliban as the U.S. does not want unnecessary footprint in Afghanistan,” adding that, however, Washington can not give a time-frame about the withdrawal of the troops in view of the situation in Afghanistan.

In the meeting with the U.S. secretary, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan “shared Pakistan’s perspective on the situation in the region and reiterated its desire for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.

Pompeo also emphasized “the important role Pakistan could play in bringing about a negotiated peace in Afghanistan,” a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad said.

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