Just a day after confirming its schedule, Foreign Office announces postponement and says new dates will be announced later
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Friday announced that the three-day Afghan Peace Conference that was to be hosted by Islamabad had been postponed till an as-yet-undetermined point after Eidul Azha.
“The new dates of the said conference will be announced later,” read a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Afghan Peace Conference was scheduled to be held from July 17-19 and would have included the participation of several Afghan stakeholders, including High Council for National Reconciliation Chairman Abdullah Abdullah. Announcing the moot, Pakistan’s Foreign Office had said it would not include any members of the Afghan Taliban, noting that Islamabad had been engaging with them separately.
Reportedly, the conference was postponed after President Ashraf Ghani, during a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan in Tashkent, had urged its cancellation. Ghani, per sources, informed Khan that some of the invited Afghan leaders were already en route to Doha for a meeting with the Taliban, and it would not be appropriate to divide their focus at this juncture.
Prior to the meeting between Ghani and Khan, they faced off during speeches at the Central and South Asia Regional Connectivity: Challenges and Opportunities in Uzbekistan. Ghani had accused Pakistan of “allowing” 10,000 fighters to cross into Afghanistan to aid the Taliban and lamented its “negative role” in the ongoing Afghan Peace Process. In response, Khan had described his assertion as “very unfair,” and stressed that the “last thing” Pakistan wanted was more conflict in Afghanistan, as it would inevitably cause fallout on its soil.