KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan’s special representative for Afghanistan this week held talks with the Taliban’s Doha-based leadership to discuss the peace and reconciliation process in war-battered Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry said on Friday.

Muhammad Sadiq Khan paid a two-day visit to Doha on June 16-17 to meet the Taliban leaders, including their chief negotiator, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui said in a statement.

“The special representative underlined that Pakistan will continue to play its role as facilitator for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. In this context, he referred to the highly productive visit of the chief of Army Staff to Kabul recently, which had imparted a new impetus to Pakistan’s efforts,” the statement said.

Islamabad earlier this month named Khan its envoy to Afghanistan amid efforts to start intra-Afghan negotiations aimed at ending Washington’s longest war in neighboring Afghanistan

Khan, Pakistan’s envoy to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2014, said he “appreciated” the Taliban’s commitment to implement the historic peace deal struck between the US and the Taliban in February.

Hailing the release of prisoners by the two sides as per the peace agreement, Khan said it would be “a stepping stone towards the immediate start of Intra-Afghan negotiations”

“Pakistan hopes that all concerned parties will make sincere efforts for peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. Pakistan, for its part, remains fully committed to support the Afghan peace process,” the statement said.

In December 2018, Pakistan arranged rare direct talks between Washington and the Taliban, paving the way for the Doha peace deal between the two sides.

Pakistan also facilitated the landmark first round of direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban in Islamabad in July 2015. That process broke down after the Taliban announced the death of their long-time leader Mullah Omar, triggering a bitter internal power struggle.

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