Addressing members of the Pakistan National Assembly today, Qureshi said the Afghan Taliban had responded positively to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s invite for formal talks in Islamabad.
He said this formal invitation to Afghan Taliban representatives is part of Islamabad’s latest diplomatic push to convince insurgents to agree to a permanent ceasefire and to have a dialogue to resolve vexed political issues in the war-ravaged nation.
Monday’s development is significant in the wake of Prime Minister Khan’s recent visit to the US, where he assured President Donald Trump that Pakistan would do “whatever is in its power” to facilitate the Afghan peace deal.
Pakistan foreign minister had earlier said both Pakistan and the US share a common goal in Afghanistan to establish a lasting peace, which cannot be achieved through military might. He said Pakistan has always sought a political solution and together Islamabad and Washington were closer to that goal than ever before.
Last week, the BBC’s Urdu Service quoted Sohail Shahin, spokesperson of the Taliban’s Political Office in Doha as saying that the Afghan Taliban would visit Pakistan if a formal invitation were received from the Pakistan Prime Minister.
Qatar is currently hosting the Taliban political office and is believed to have considerable leverage over the insurgent group.
It is was earlier mentioned that Pakistan would send an invitation to Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban’s Deputy Head and Sher Abbas Stanekazai, currently leading negotiations with American interlocutors led by Zalmay Khalilzad.
Baradar, the co-founder of the Taliban movement, had remained in Pakistan’s custody for several years before being released last year to facilitate the peace process.
Relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan have shown some improvement in recent weeks after the visit by President Ashraf Ghani to Islamabad.