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2nd meeting of ‘Kabul Process’ being held today

February 28, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The second meeting of ‘Kabul Process’ is being held today (Wednesday) with the participation of the representatives of 25 countries and three international organisations, the EU, UN and Nato, which is intended to discuss security and political issues in the country. While the Afghan Taliban calling for direct talks with the US to find a "peaceful solution" to the conflict in Afghanistan.

The Afghan President Office quoted President Ashraf Ghani saying that the Afghan government will propose an inclusive proposal to Pakistan and the Taliban during the Kabul Process conference which is set to start today (Wednesday).

“We are no longer a hostage, we have good intention for peace but it does not mean weakness”, said Ashraf Ghani.

So far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has remained silent on prospects of whether Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua or some other senior diplomat would travel to Kabul on Wednesday, with the FO spokesman reluctant to take calls. Ms Janjua was in Kabul earlier this month to attend the first round of Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS).

In the first ‘Kabul Process’ meeting held on June 2017, Additional Secretary Tasnim Aslam and the director general Afghanistan, Iran and Central Asia at the Foreign Office represented Pakistan at the Kabul Process.

“Terrorism is not only an issue for Afghanistan, but it also imposes threats to the countries in the region. It requires joint efforts, expressing concerns is not enough,” said Shakib Mustaghni, Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the meeting is expected to discuss the Afghanistan’s peace plan and the US-Afghan counter-terrorism efforts in the war-torn country.

The Kabul Process comes on the heels of the Afghan Taliban calling for direct talks with the US to find a "peaceful solution" to the conflict in Afghanistan.

As the Afghan Taliban have intensified terrorist attacks at key Kabul installations gaining ground, a statement commented, “We call on American officials to talk directly to the Political Office of Islamic Emirate regarding a peaceful solution to the Afghan quandary. We are the real parties, so let's sit and talk directly, without the presence of any third party, either Pakistan or Afghanistan," the statement added.

Earlier, last year 23 countries and several international organisations attended the first meeting with hopes that the Afghan Taliban would put a halt to terrorist activities and enter into peace talks.

The Afghan Foreign Office spokesman added, “It is expected that the meeting will focus on two topics mainly relating to the modality of the peace process and the fight against terrorism”.

Meanwhile , there is excitement amongst Indian experts that there are chances that Ms Janjua could meet informally with her Indian counterpart Vijay Gokhale on the sidelines of the meeting, given that Ms Janjua attends.

“Though it might not be a structured meeting, the very fact that the senior most foreign ministry officials from the two countries could meet is significant in view of the frosty ties between the neighbours”, says a report in the Indian media.

Earlier, the Afghan government in the first meeting said it would try to resolve differences with Pakistan. “Our first priority is to find a way for negotiations with Pakistan. Although we offered friendship to Pakistan, we were rejected. We undertook the bilateral, trilateral, quadrilateral and even multilateral negotiations but did not reach a desiring outcome. Even if we still wanted to trust Pakistan, we do not know Pakistan’s demands clearly.” President Ghani had said in the meeting.

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