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World

Pakistan urges Taliban to 'remain engaged' in peace process, amidst stalling negotiations

  • Pakistan has urged the Taliban to remain engaged in the Afghan peace process, after the group announced that it would not attend any multilateral summits until all foreign forces withdraw from the country.
  • The Taliban's refusal has thrown the peace process into a state of disarray, with the group refusing to take part in a Turkey-hosted summit that diplomats had hoped could create new momentum towards a political settlement.
Updated 20 Apr 2021

Pakistan has urged the Taliban to remain engaged in the Afghan peace process, after the group announced that it would not attend any multilateral summits until all foreign forces withdraw from the country.

This decision was taken after the United States announced that it would withdraw all troops from the country by September 11 this year, stretching the originally negotiated May 1st deadline set out by the Trump Administration.

“They take their own decisions but we will do whatever we can to convince them that it is in their national interest to remain engaged,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said of the Taliban in an interview with Reuters news agency in Abu Dhabi.

The Taliban's refusal has thrown the peace process into a state of disarray, with the group refusing to take part in a Turkey-hosted summit that diplomats had hoped could create new momentum towards a political settlement.

Qureshi added that withdrawal delays were always a possibility due to logistics but that the Taliban had largely succeeded in their objective for foreign troops to withdraw, and so should show flexibility towards the new September 11 deadline.

Qureshi stated that “The troops will be out and a date has been given and the process starts on the 1st of May and goes on until the 11th of September so there is a definite time frame", adding that he believed the Taliban would benefit from staying involved.

Qureshi stated that he feared violence could escalate if the peace process remains in a deadlock, plunging Afghanistan into civil war and leading to a mass exodus of Afghans.

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