PM Khan, Trump Meeting Hinges On Afghan Taliban Talks

Analysts say peace has never been closer in Afghanistan since the talks with the US to resolve the conflict began

PKONWEB Report – Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said a meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and US President Donald Trump would be possible after there was an advancement in Afghan Taliban talks taking place in Doha.

Both these leaders have a deep interest in peace and stability of the region, Qureshi said. “An advancement is also taking place in this, and talks are continuing in Doha, an advancement has taken place in those (talks), (if) this advancement develops further so (then) there are possibilities of this (meeting), and because of these possibilities there can be a new opening in our bilateral relations,” Qureshi said in an interview to UrduNews.

When asked to comment on the developments, a senior defense expert in Pakistan said, “Peace in Afghanistan? 1. US willing to hand over Afghanistan to Taliban 2. Taliban not talking to Afghan Government. 3. Where does it lead to, infighting. 4. The US is only securing it’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and rest it will again be on us to manage this conflict unless Chinese decide to play a major role.”

Officials from the United States and Taliban representatives have held six rounds of direct talks since October in Doha in a bid to end the 18-year war in Afghanistan.

The Afghan government, however, is not involved in the talks as the armed group has refused to negotiate with it, deeming it illegitimate and a “puppet” of the US.

An observer in the US says peace in the region and withdrawal from Afghanistan provides Trump and his base much capital in the 2020 presidential race

After the latest round of negotiations with the Taliban ended last week, the US envoy for peace in Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad announced that “faster progress” was needed as “the conflict rages” and “innocent people die”.

The sixth round of talks that ended on Thursday with “some progress” on a draft agreement on the withdrawal of foreign troops, a Taliban official told Aljazeera.

But as these efforts remain in the spotlight, deep divisions among the Afghan government and politicians reveal several hurdles are yet to be overcome before peace is established in Afghanistan. 

Pakistan is actively supportive of the talks.

Analysts say peace has never been closer in Afghanistan since the talks with the US to resolve the conflict began.

The foreign minister clarified that the meeting between PM Imran and US President Trump was not dependent on the success of these talks, however, the environment would become conducive if these talks go forward.

Answering a question on deteriorating security situation in Saudi Arabia, Pakistani foreign minister said Pakistan has stood by the kingdom whenever it faced any danger and it will continue to stand by the Saudis in future too to protect the holy cities.

Qureshi reached Kuwait on Saturday on a two-day official visit to the Gulf country.

During his stay, he will hold talks with the Kuwaiti leadership on the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, including visa-related matters.

Talking to media persons before his departure, Qureshi said he was carrying a special letter of Prime Minister Imran Khan for the Emir of Kuwait.

The Emir of Qatar was also expected to visit Pakistan in the near future, Qureshi said at the National Assembly Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs on Tuesday.