Pakistan, US to resume Afghanistan peace process

Islamabad, Nov 22 (IANS) Pakistan and the US have agreed to work together for resumption of the stalled Afghanistan reconciliation process.

The agreement was reached during Pakistan Army chief General Raheel Sharif’s visit to the US where he held discussions with key figures of the Obama administration, Dawn online reported.

“Depending on the present conditions, there is a need for Afghanistan reconciliation,” a senior diplomatic source said on Saturday.

The focus of Gen. Sharif’s visit was Afghanistan. He also discussed Pakistan’s strained ties with India, military cooperation, strategic (nuclear) issues and other regional matters.

Gen. Sharif communicated Pakistan’s fears in facilitation role that it is expected to play for reviving the Afghan peace process. The country is concerned about Afghanistan security establishment thwarting a renewed process.

Military spokesman Lt. Gen. Asim Bajwa in his tweets said “requirement of conducive environment for re-initiating Afghan peace process” was emphasised.

Pakistan and the US, however, have not set any time-frame for getting back on track with the talks process, which was disrupted after disclosure of Taliban chief Mullah Omar’s death days before Islamabad was set to host the second round of reconciliation dialogue.

Bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan also got strained because of the suspension of the peace dialogue and the increase in violence.

Resultantly, the relationship which had undergone a major transformation earlier in the year once again slipped back into compulsive mistrust on each other.

However, the source said it was expected that a “lot of ground would be covered during the Heart of Asia Conference”, which Pakistan is co-hosting with Afghanistan on December 7-8. Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani is expected to visit Islamabad for the conference.

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