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ISLAMABAD: Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Thursday asked the visiting high-level Taliban delegation led by the acting Afghan Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi to keep a close watch on the spoilers and anti-peace elements both within and outside Afghanistan, who do not want peace and stability in the war-ravaged country.

The visiting acting Afghan Foreign Minister Muttaqi along with his delegation held delegation-level talks in the Foreign Office.

Pakistan side was led by Foreign Minister Qureshi, while Federal Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Shaukat Tarin, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, and Pakistan special representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq also participated in the talks.

Speaking on the occasion, Qureshi said that Pakistan wants peace and stability in Afghanistan, according to a statement of the Foreign Office. “Pakistan, being a close neighbour, has been heavily affected by the last 40 years of conflict and unrest in Afghanistan,” Qureshi said. He said that Pakistan has been hosting three million Afghan refugees for the last four decades.

Qureshi told the visiting delegation that Pakistan has been demanding immediate assistance and positive role of the international community to get Afghanistan out of economic and humanitarian crisis.

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He added that Pakistan, despite limited resources, is determined to do its utmost to provide humanitarian assistance, medicine and food to Afghan brethren. “There is a need to keep a close watch on anti-peace elements inside and outside Afghanistan at this critical stage,” he asked the delegation.

The foreign minister also briefed the Afghan delegation on the meeting and negotiations with the special representatives for Afghanistan of Russia, China, and the United States, who earlier participated in the Troika Plus meeting hosted by Pakistan earlier in the day.

“We would like to invite representatives of Afghanistan’s interim government to the next meeting of Afghanistan’s neighbours,” Qureshi further stated.

The foreign minister also briefed the Afghan delegation on the trade relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the facilities provided in the trade corridor and the steps taken for humanitarian assistance.

Foreign Minister Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolve to strengthen bilateral relations with Afghanistan in all areas. He added that the meeting had provided opportunity to build upon the earlier exchanges held during his visit to Kabul on 21 October 2021. The Foreign Minister emphasized that peace in Afghanistan would help strengthen regional stability, spur economic activity, and connectivity.

During the meeting, outcomes of the meetings of working groups on strengthening bilateral and transit trade regime and facilitating movement of people by land and air were shared. Pakistan offered technical assistance in a range of areas and shared a number of proposals. It was agreed to continue discussions with a view to strengthen existing ties and identify new areas of cooperation.

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Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi thanked Pakistan for its continued support to a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and particularly for hosting millions of refugees for the last four decades. He assured of full cooperation in strengthening fraternal cooperative ties for the mutual benefit of the peoples of the two countries.

The Acting Foreign Minister of Afghanistan, earlier in the day, interacted with the Special Representatives/Envoys under the Troika Plus format.

The Afghan acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi thanked Foreign Minister Qureshi and Pakistani leadership for preventing Afghanistan from the humanitarian crisis and drawing the attention of the international community to the deteriorating economic situation of Afghanistan, the statement added.

Muttaqi, along with a high-level ministerial delegation is visiting Pakistan from 10-12 November 2021. The visit is taking place as a follow-up to Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Kabul on 21 October 2021.

The acting Afghan foreign minister is also scheduled to speak at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad (ISSI) today (Friday).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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