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Pakistani Foreign Minister In Kabul To Discuss Afghan Peace Process


Afghan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani (R) met his Pakistani counterpart Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Kabul on December 24.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has arrived in Kabul for talks with the government on the Afghan peace process.

Qureshi was received by his Afghan counterpart Salahuddin Rabbani in the morning on December 24 and was expected to meet Afghan President Ashraf Ghani.

Ahead of the trip, Qureshi told the Associated Press news agency that his visit aims at reinforcing Pakistan's commitment to finding a peaceful end to the Afghan conflict.

"Good relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as peace in Afghanistan, is critical for regional stability. Pakistan wants a sustainable peace in Afghanistan," Qureshi said.

Qureshi’s visit to Kabul is the first leg of a regional tour that will also include Iran, China, and Russia. It’s also his second visit to Kabul this month.

Pakistan, which has influence over the Taliban, is taking part in the latest U.S. effort to revive the Afghan peace process ahead of next year's withdrawal of 7,000 American troops.

Earlier this month, Islamabad helped orchestrate talks in Abu Dhabi where representatives of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), Pakistan, and the United States met with the Taliban representatives.

Afghanistan's national security adviser was also in the U.A.E. and while he did not attend talks, he met with Washington's Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who reportedly kept him informed of the discussions.

Islamabad welcomed President Donald Trump's decision to pull around half of the 14,000 American troops in Afghanistan.

Qureshi said on December 22 that the move was "a step forward" in the peace effort.

Qureshi’s visit to Kabul comes as Ghani nominated hard-line opponents of Pakistan to two top security posts.

Ghani announced on December 23 that Amrullah Saleh will be the next interior minister and Asadullah Khaleed will be defense minister.

Both are former intelligence chiefs who have blamed neighboring Pakistan for the Taliban's resurgence in recent years and have called for the country to be declared a state sponsor of terror.

The appointments will have to be approved by parliament.

With reporting by RFE/RL’s Radio Free Afghanistan, tolonews.com, AP, and AFP

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