Afghan ‘solution’ lies in “regional approach”: Asif

By Staff Reporter
Thursday – March 29, 2018
ISLAMABAD: Leading Pakistan delegation to the Tashkent conference on Afghanistan, on Tuesday, foreign minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif emphasised the need of a regional approach for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan and the region.

According to an official statement, he added that Pakistan has consistently stressed for resolution of Afghan conflict through a political settlement. Asif said that bringing ‘Taliban’ to the table and establishing peace and stability in Afghanistan was a shared responsibility of the international community.

Asif reiterated Pakistan’s support for Afghan president Ashraf Ghani’s national peace and reconciliation plan unveiled during Kabul process meeting on February 28th and his offer of peace talks to the Taliban under an Afghan-led and owned process.

He said there was need of collective pressure on Taliban to avail this opportunity to shun violence and join the peace process.

Asif expressed concern over unchecked proliferation of Daesh and phenomenal increase in the drug production in Afghanistan. He emphasised the need for cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbours to prevent “cross-border movement of terrorists” and criminal networks adding that Pakistan’s proposal entitled “Afghanistan-Pakistan action plan for peace and solidarity” was aimed at developing mechanisms for bilateral cooperation in security, counter-terrorism, border controls and smooth return of Afghan refugees to Afghanistan.

He appreciated Uzbekistan and its leadership on this regional initiative for peace in Afghanistan, cooperation on counter-terrorism and connectivity.

On the margins of the Tashkent conference, Asif called on Uzbek president Shavkat Mirziyoyev. The two sides reaffirmed commitment to continued efforts for deepening bilateral relations through concrete cooperation in trade, economy, defence and cultural fields.

He also held bilateral meetings with Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cevasoglu, European union (EU) foreign minister Federica Mogherini, Kyrgyz foreign minister Abdildaev Erlan and Chinese deputy foreign minister Li Baodong.