“Pak, China ready to ‘guarantee’ Afghan peace deal”

Islamabad: As talks between the Taliban and Afghan government officials move ahead, the key facilitators – Pakistan and China – are ready to become “guarantors” of a possible peace deal, a media report said here today.

The two sides met openly on July 7 in Pakistan’s hill resort of Murree for talks in the presence of officials from Pakistan, China and the US.

The Express Tribune reported that Islamabad and Beijing are ready to ensure compliance by both parties to end the misgivings between the negotiators.

“We are ready to go the extra mile. We are even willing to become guarantors for any peace agreement,” said a senior Pakistani official.

He said Pakistan has been facilitating Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace talks, “but if talks make progress and all sides agree, then Pakistan has no problem in playing its role beyond that of a facilitator”.

The Chinese foreign ministry also said in a statement that Beijing was ready to work with relevant parties and play a constructive role in achieving broad and inclusive peace.

The two sides are expected to meet again for a second round of talks but the time and venue has not been announced as yet. It is expected that they will discuss modalities for a ceasefire as Kabul is anxious to end the bloodshed sooner than later.

The peace process got a tremendous boost when the Afghan Taliban’s reclusive chief Mullah Omar in his Eid message supported the talks. (PTI)