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Peace within reach in Afghanistan but hasty int'l withdrawal will be unwise: PM

  • Premier says all those who invested in the Afghan peace process should resist the temptation for setting unrealistic timelines
27 Sep 2020

(Karachi) Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that peace is within reach in Afghanistan but hasty withdrawal of foreign powers will be unwise, media has reported.

In an article published in Washington Post, Imran said that all those who invested in the Afghan peace process should resist the temptation for setting unrealistic timelines. "A hasty international withdrawal from Afghanistan would be unwise," he stated.

The premier maintained that all stakeholders should also counter elements who are against peace and stability in the region, especially Afghanistan. "The intra-Afghan negotiations are likely to be even more difficult, requiring patience and compromise from all sides. Progress could be slow and painstaking; there may even be the occasional deadlock, as Afghans work together for their future."

He said, "At such times, we would do well to remember that a bloodless deadlock on the negotiating table is infinitely better than a bloody stalemate on the battlefield."

"The rare moment of hope for Afghanistan and the entire region has arrived," he remarked. The prime minister mentioned that on September 12, Afghan government and the Taliban finally held talks in Doha to bring decades long war in Afghanistan to an end.

He said Pakistan paid a higher price for the conflict in Afghanistan with the exception of the resilient Afghans themselves.

He stated that Pakistan has dealt with the responsibility of taking care of more than four million Afghan refugees. "Guns and drugs have also flowed into our country. The wars have disrupted our economic trajectory and radicalized fringes of our own society. The Pakistan I had known growing up in the 1960s and 1970s changed in some deeply unsettling ways.”

He said the experience taught Pakistan two important lessons: we are too closely intertwined with Afghanistan not to cast a shadow on Pakistan, and peace and political stability in Afghanistan cannot be imposed from the outside through the use of force.

“We realized Pakistan will not know real peace until our Afghan brothers and sisters are at peace. So, when President Trump wrote to me in late 2018 to ask for Pakistan’s assistance in helping the United States achieve a negotiated political settlement in Afghanistan, we had no hesitation in assuring the president that Pakistan would make every effort to facilitate such an outcome—and we did," he said.

The premier added that despite hurdles, the peace talks remained successful due to the courage and flexibility displayed by all sides.