Pakistan’s FM Qureshi Meets Taliban Delegation To Discuss Intra-Afghan Talks

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister. Shah Mahmood Qureshi met with the delegation from the Taliban’s political office, led by Mullah Baradar, on Tuesday, the Foreign Office said.

During the two hour-meeting, the Taliban delegation informed Qureshi of the progress made on the conditions set by the Doha deal with the U.S.

“From the start, Pakistan has taken the position that a lasting and permanent solution can only be achieved through dialogue overseen by the Afghans,” Qureshi said during the meeting.

The foreign minister expressed hope that the Afghan leaders will seize the “rare opportunity” for peace.

“Pakistan will continue to play its role in the Afghan peace process and ensure peace in the region,” he said.

“The Taliban leadership thinks that Pakistan has played a positive role in bringing peace in Afghanistan,” Qureshi told reporters once the meeting ended.

He added, that the Taliban “highlighted that there were some obstacles that could be resolved through dialogue.”

Earlier, Qureshi had said that the Taliban meeting would be followed by a visit by Chinese special envoy for Afghanistan Liu Jian.

On Monday, he had said, “We acknowledge, and respect Afghanistan’s sovereignty and we are trying to make progress in these engagements.”

Earlier, Pakistan had approved the imposition of UN sanctions against a number of Taliban leaders, including Mullah Baradar, that would restrict travel, freeze assets, limit fundraising and an arms embargo.

However, the UN has allowed for travel for the purpose of peace negotiations, but only for a limited number of Taliban figures.

The visit follows the U.S.-Taliban peace deal signed on Feb. 29, which included a prisoner exchange between the Afghan government and the militant group, and eventually lead to a ceasefire and start of the intra-Afghan talks.

Since then, only partial progress has been made on key demands, with the Afghan government halting the release of 320 prisoners until the Taliban agree to release 22 Afghan security forces.

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