Pakistan’s foreign minister on Thursday expressed concern over growing violence in Afghanistan, saying unrest in Afghanistan affects Pakistan and Iran.

Talking to visiting Iranian special envoy for Afghanistan, Muhammad Ebrahim Taherian Fard, who called on him in the capital Islamabad, Shah Mahmood Qureshi said rising violence in Afghanistan could strengthen anti-peace forces.

“Only a negotiated political settlement, through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned political process, would help achieve the desired objective of sustainable peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the minister said in a statement.

He urged the Afghan parties to seize this opportunity and leverage international support for the peace process.

Qureshi termed the rising violence a matter of great concern and emphasized the need for reduction in the violence leading to a cease-fire.

“Continuation of violence would strengthen the hands of spoilers who did not wish to see return of peace in the region,” Qureshi said.

Highlighting that both Pakistan and Iran have suffered due to instability in Afghanistan, the minister stressed close coordination between the two countries.

He also congratulated President-elect Ebrahim Raeisi on his victory and reaffirmed his commitment to further increase bilateral relations in all areas.

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