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Top officials bicker over Taliban visit to Islamabad

5 Oct 2019 - 10:49
5 Oct 2019 - 10:49

KABUL delegation to Islamabad.

A Taliban team, led by the group’s political office head Mullah, where it met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and America’s top peace negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad.

On Thursday, presidential spokesman Sidiq Sidiqi told a press conference that Pakistan’s invitation to the Taliban and the warm welcome they received was against diplomatic norms.

The spokesman said Afghanistan had repeatedly asked Pakistan to destroy Taliban safe havens on its soil and play a positive role in Afghan peace and regional stability.

He added said peace and stability would continue to elude Afghanistan until militant safe havens and training centres are dismantled in Pakistan.

Hours after Sidiqi’s statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Sibghatullah Ahmadi shared a statement on Twitter, hailing Pakistan’s efforts for peace.

“Regional and international efforts have increased for the Afghan peace process and we welcome them,” he added.

After two days, presidential spokesman Sidiqi tweeted:

“The policy on peace is announced by the Presidential Palace. MFA spokesman’s latest comments on the Taliban-Pakistan meeting or peace process don’t reflect the Afghan government’s views…”

Videos on news outlets and social media show the Taliban delegation being warmly greeted by Pakistani leaders. The Taliban are seen giving gifts to their hosts.

In two other tweets on Saturday, Ahmadi said: “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as the sole implementer of the country’s foreign policy and the entity reflecting on the position of the government, continues to support the peace process and efforts.

“Facilitate the peace talks. I also have at all times expressed the official stance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan,” he concluded.

sa/mud

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