US troop withdrawal from Afghanistan should be linked with peace: Pakistan

Topics US Pak | Pakistan  | Afghanistan

Pakistan on Thursday said that the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan should be linked with the progress in the peace process in the war-torn neighbouring country.

The Foreign Office said that Pakistan supports the principle of a responsible troop withdrawal in coordination with Afghan stake-holders, a day after US President Joe Biden announced that the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan will start on May 1 and will be completed by September 11 this year, the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York.

In our view, it is important that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with the progress in the peace process, the FO said.

It hoped that the forthcoming meeting of Afghan leadership in Turkey would be an important opportunity for Afghans to make progress towards a negotiated political settlement.

The United Nations, Turkey and Qatar are co-convening a high level and "inclusive conference" this month between representatives of Afghanistan and the Taliban, aimed at accelerating the ongoing intra-Afghan negotiations on achieving a just and durable political settlement.

Turkey will host the Istanbul Conference on the Afghanistan Peace Process in Istanbul from April 24 to May 4 between representatives of Afghanistan and the Taliban.

India is among the over 20 nations that have been invited for the talks.

According to the FO, Pakistan hopes that the US will continue to urge the Afghan leaders to seize this historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Pakistan believes there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan and a negotiated political solution through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned process is important for a lasting peace and stability in the country, it said.

The US-Taliban agreement of February 29, 2020 laid the foundation for a comprehensive intra-Afghan peace agreement including a permanent ceasefire for bringing an end to violence in Afghanistan, it said.

A meaningful engagement of the international community for promoting reconstruction and economic development in post-conflict Afghanistan is important for ensuring a sustainable peace and stability, the FO said.

Pakistan believes that another key feature in the efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan should be a time-bound and well-resourced plan for return of Afghan refugees to their homeland and their reintegration in Afghanistan, it said.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has said that the US "will begin an orderly drawdown of the remaining forces before May 1 and plan to have all US troops out of the country before the 20th anniversary of 9/11."

Later US President Biden said, "It is time to end America's longest war. It is time for American troops to come home."

Biden has said that India, Pakistan, Russia, China, and Turkey have a significant stake in the stable future of Afghanistan and these regional stakeholders should do more to bring peace in this war-torn country.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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