ISLAMABA : Pakistan and the United States on Friday welcomed upcoming talks between the Kabul government and the Afghan Taliban, scheduled for September 12 in Doha, hoping the dialogue would bring peace and prosperity to Afghanistan and end 19 years of civil war.
“Pakistan welcomes the announcement of the start of historic intra-Afghan negotiations on 12 September in Doha,” the Pakistani Prime Minister’s Special Representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq said on Twitter. “We hope these negotiations would lead to sustainable peace in Afghanistan, which would bring prosperity to the country. Our strong support to the process would continue,” he added “This opportunity must not be squandered,” US secretary of state Michael R. Pompeo said in a statement issued by the US Embassy in Islamabad.
“Immense sacrifice and investment by the United States, our partners, and the people of Afghanistan have made this moment of hope possible.” “I urge the negotiators to demonstrate the pragmatism, restraint, and flexibility this process will require to succeed. The people of Afghanistan and the international community will be watching closely. The United States is prepared to support as requested.” The United States and other international players have been trying to usher the insurgent Taliban and the Afghan government to the negotiating table for months. Taliban political office spokesman Muhammad Naeem said in a statement the group would take part in talks starting on Saturday, beginning with an inauguration ceremony. The release of 5,000 Taliban prisoners held by the Afghan government finally opened the way for the dialogue after months of delay. The release of the prisoners was a part of a historic deal signed between the United States and the Taliban in February at talks in which the Afghan government was not present.