Pak, Afghan leaders satisfied with Taliban talks

Sajjad Hussain

Islamabad: Pakistan and Afghanistan leaders today expressed satisfaction over their first official peace talks with the Taliban held this week here to find a solution to the 13-year-old insurgency.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting with President Ashraf Ghani on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) summits in the Russian city of Ufa.

During the meeting, Sharif reaffirmed Pakistan’s desire to build a positive and forward-looking relationship with Afghanistan.

“The two leaders expressed satisfaction on the progress made in the 7th July meeting between Afghan government and Afghan Taliban to promote peace and reconciliation process,” according to an official statement by Pakistan.

President Ghani appreciated the efforts and role of Pakistan in facilitating peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan and expressed the hope that this would lead to lasting peace and stability in the country.

The two leaders exchanged views on how to carry forward the peace process.

They also discussed on the efforts being made by the respective sides to counter terrorism and extremism.

Both the leaders reviewed economic cooperation to achieve the shared objectives of peace, prosperity and development.

Sharif extended an invitation to Ghani to jointly inaugurate with him the Ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia process to be hosted by Pakistan in December.

Pakistan hosted the talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban at the Murree hill resort near Islamabad that began on July 7 and continued through the night. The talks were also attended by US and Chinese representatives.

Afghan and Taliban representatives agreed to meet again after Ramzan.

It is expected that the two sides will try to reach a consensus on ceasefire in the next meeting. (PTI)