Pakistan said it was sure that face-to-face talks between Afghanistan’s government and the Taliban will take place within the next week.
Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor for Foreign Affairs said he expects talks within a week and that significant progress will be made over the next three months with regards to peace in Afghanistan.
Aziz said this during Pakistan’s Foreign Relations Committee Meeting on Monday.
The senior Pakistani official said that last month’s meeting between the Taliban and members of the Afghan High Peace Council in Urumqi in China was also facilitated by Pakistan.
In addition to being upbeat over possible peace talks, Aziz said he was also pleased about the improved relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Aziz also said that based on a Kabul request, Islamabad has given the green light over the exchange of intelligence. Aziz said the agreement over the exchange of intelligence information was based on a request from Kabul.
“The agreement on exchange of intelligence information between Pakistan and Afghanistan was an initiative by Kabul, to which Islamabad gave a positive response,” says Aziz.
These statements were made on the same day that Afghanistan witnessed a deadly attack by insurgents on Parliament. It also comes at a time that Afghanistan’s High Peace Council has called for open and honest dealings by Pakistan through the peace process.
“Whether we like it or not, Pakistan has an effective role in bringing peace and stability to Afghanistan. We hope for a change in the mentality of Pakistani government in regards to Afghanistan, especially its military,” said Muhammad Ismael Qasimyar, Global Affairs Adviser at the High Peace Council.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is waiting for Pakistan to implement its commitments and speaks of the ministry’s fight against those who have contributed to destabilizing Afghanistan.
“The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan always prefers peace, and has made peace its priority. Unless practical steps are taken towards peace, the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan will do everything in its power to eliminate those who have undermined the security and peace of its people,” says MoFA spokesman Shekib Ahmad Mostaghni.
It has been said that one of the demands of the Taliban during their meeting in Oslo, Norway was the reopening of their office in Qatar. The government of Afghanistan has not yet reacted to this, but it is believed that future talks will be held in Qatar.