Pakistan’s Foreign Office said in a statement on Thursday that peace negotiations for Afghanistan had to resume as soon as possible. The talks were halted by the US last month.
“Both sides agreed on the need for the earliest resumption of the peace process,” the statement said, referring to Islamabad and a visiting group of Taliban members, Presstv Reported.
“It was emphasized that reduction of violence by all parties to the conflict was necessary,” the office said. “Such a step would help to speed resumption of the peace effort.”
The statement came following a meeting between Pakistan’s top diplomat, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, and 12 visiting Taliban members in Islamabad. US special envoy for Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad also met with Pakistani officials to discuss the peace process.
Pakistan has helped facilitate the talks between the Taliban and Washington in Qatar over the past year. Nine rounds of such talks have so far taken place in the Qatari capital of Doha, and the two sides appeared to have come close to a deal under which the US would have pulled over 5,000 forces out of Afghanistan within 20 weeks in exchange for security guarantees from the Taliban.
Trump, however, abruptly announced the suspension of negotiations with the Taliban on September 9, after the militant group claimed responsibility for a car bomb attack that killed 12 people, including an American soldier.
The administration of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is not a party to the negotiations.
The talks took place almost 18 years after the US invaded Afghanistan — following the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York — to overthrow a then-ruling Taliban regime.
Nearly 20,000 foreign troops, most of them Americans, are currently deployed in Afghanistan as part of a mission to purportedly train, assist, and advise Afghan security forces.