Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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Pakistan Aggressively Working To Restart Derailed Afghan Peace Talks

Pakistan has commenced diplomatic efforts bring on track the suspended Afghan peace talks between the US and Taliban. Earlier, US President Donald Trump astonished the world with his announcement that he was all set to meet the Afghan Taliban leaders and President Ashraf Ghani at Camp David, before cancelling the peace talks after bomb attacks in Kabul.

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Pakistan, which was a key facilitator between the US and the Afghan Taliban has been worried about the stalemate and growing hostilities in the region and has now quietly started to rescue the faltering deal.

The Afghan Deal could be back on track and the process has started, stated an expert talking to the EurAsian Times. One positive development, noted the experts, was the decision by President Trump to fire his National Security Adviser John Bolton. Many believed that Bolton, who was known for his hawkish stance, was lobbying against striking the peace deal with the Taliban.

“Bolton’s sacking means that Donald Trump is still willing to opt for the peace deal in Afghanistan,” observed an expert. Experts have suggested that authorities were currently engaged with the US as well as Qatar, which hosted the Taliban’s political office, to help revive the peace process.

Pakistan, meanwhile, is secretly leveraging its influence to convince the Taliban to reduce violence and get back on the negotiating table.

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Although Trump cited the killing of American serviceman as a reason for the cancellation of the peace process, experts talking to EurAsian Times believed there might be other reasons too. One of those reasons included the Taliban’s reluctance to commit to a ceasefire.

Trump, observers think, pulled out of the talks in a bid to enhance the bargaining position of the US in talks with the Taliban. The Trump administration now wanted the Taliban to commit to a ceasefire if they were interested in any peace deal.

At the weekly news briefing, Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Muhammad Faisal said Pakistan wanted all sides to “exercise restraint and refrain from violence”.

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“We have encouraged and facilitated the Afghan peace process in good faith and as a shared responsibility,” Dr Faisal told reporters. “We shall continue to monitor the situation and urge all parties to return to the negotiation table to take the progress achieved in the talks, so far, to its logical conclusion.”

The spokesperson also reiterated Pakistan’s stance that the only solution to the Afghan conflict lied in a politically negotiated settlement led and owned by the Afghans themselves. “A military-focused approach has failed to render the desired results,” he emphasised.

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