Constructive Dialogue ( on Pak-Afghan relations)- The Nation

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On Thursday, a delegation of Afghan politicians met with Pakistan’s civil and military leadership to discuss the ongoing situation in Afghanistan and the need for an inclusive government. During the meetings, the delegation was of the view that a new chapter will be commenced in Af-Pak bilateral relations, and that it considered Islamabad to be an important player for achieving regional peace.

Such meetings are essential at this critical juncture and Pakistan’s efforts deserve to be acknowledged. Pakistan’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan on Thursday met former Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Abdullah Abdullah to discuss future steps now that the Taliban have announced the creation of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. On the same day, Ambassador Khan also spoke with an official from the Afghan Taliban. Islamabad’s approach of holding talks with various political factions in Afghanistan must be emulated by other key actors if a sustainable peace is to be achieved for the benefit of the Afghan people.

Meanwhile, officials of the Afghan Taliban have stated through multiple channels that the group would like to resolve problems faced by citizens, meet their aspirations and stay committed to forming an open and inclusive Islamic government. Of course, these are just words at the moment and it is actions that will make the difference and allay concerns.

However, to ensure that such promises are kept, international actors will have to sustain their engagement with Afghanistan and the Taliban. Beijing has echoed similar sentiments as the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying recently remarked that China encourages and hopes that the Taliban can follow through on its positive statements and adopts moderate and prudent domestic and foreign policies. Such a measured attitude during the current transition phase makes sense. Refusing to engage with the Taliban will only be to the detriment of the Afghan people in the long run and is also not in line with today’s reality. Dialogue amongst both internal and external stakeholders is the only way forward.