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Pakistan Hopes Foreign Troops’ Exit from Afghanistan to Coincide With Peace

by Newsweek Pakistan
Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs

File photo

Gen. Bajwa welcomes America’s decision to withdraw all troops from war-torn state by Sept. 11

Pakistan on Thursday stressed the importance of ensuring that the withdrawal of foreign troops from Afghanistan coincides with progress in the ongoing peace process.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said that Islamabad was aware of U.S. President Joe Biden’s announcement to withdraw all its troops from Afghanistan by Sept. 11. “Pakistan has been consistently supporting and facilitating the efforts for durable peace and stability in Afghanistan,” it said, reiterating that Islamabad believed the only way to end the conflict was through a negotiated political solution that was both Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.

“The U.S.-Taliban Agreement of Feb. 29, 2020 laid foundation for a comprehensive intra-Afghan peace agreement including a permanent ceasefire for bringing an end to violence in Afghanistan,” it said, noting that the upcoming meeting of Afghan stakeholders in Turkey was an important opportunity to make progress towards a negotiated political settlement. “In this regard, we support the principle of responsible troop withdrawal in coordination with Afghan stakeholders. We also hope the U.S. will continue to urge the Afghan leaders to seize this historic opportunity for achieving a political settlement in Afghanistan.

Reiterating Pakistan’s desire for a peaceful, stable, united, democratic, sovereign and prosperous Afghanistan, the Foreign Office said this required “a meaningful engagement of the international community for promoting reconstruction and economic development.” Another key feature, it stressed, was the implementation of a time-bound and well-resourced plan for return of Afghan refugees to their homeland and their reintegration.

“Pakistan will continue to work together with the international community in the efforts for lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan,” it added.

Welcome development

Separately, Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa welcomed President Biden’s announcement of the complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan by Sept. 11 during a meeting with U.S. Charge d’Affaires Angela Ageler in Rawalpindi.

Reiterating Pakistan’s stance of a prosperous, stable and peaceful Afghanistan being in the best interest of Pakistan, especially, and the whole South Asian region, he hoped Islamabad and Washington would continue to expand their bilateral cooperation in all areas of mutual interest.

According to a statement issued by the ISPR, the U.S. official appreciated Pakistan’s efforts for bring about peace and stability in the region, especially by aiding in the Afghan Peace Process. She also assured Pakistan of America’s continued assistance for the common cause of peace in Afghanistan.

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