ISLAMABAD, Pakistan

Pakistan on Friday urged the Afghan government and the Taliban to end violence and move for a cease-fire.

During a meeting with an Afghan Taliban delegation, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed concern over the rising violence and called on all sides for a reduction in the violence leading to a cease-fire, according to a statement issued from the prime minister’s office.

The Afghan Taliban delegation, led by Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the group’s deputy head, arrived in Pakistan on Wednesday.

Also attended by Pakistan’s spymaster Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed, premier Khan’s special representative for Afghanistan Mohammad Sadiq, and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Kabul Mansoor Ahmad Khan, the meeting at the prime minister’s office discussed the recent progress in the ongoing peace process that began in September in Qatar’s capital Doha.

Reiterating that there is no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan, Khan underlined that the intra-Afghan negotiations provide a historic opportunity to the Afghan leaders for achieving durable peace and stability through an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

“The prime minister expressed hope that the Afghan parties would continue to build on the recent positive developments in the intra-Afghan negotiations,” according to the statement.

The Pakistani premier also assured his country’s consistent support to an inclusive, broad-based, and comprehensive political settlement and underlined the need to be vigilant about the role of spoilers, who continue to make attempts to disrupt and derail the peace process.

“Return of peace and stability in Afghanistan would provide a strong impetus to economic development, regional integration, and connectivity, benefitting Afghanistan and the region,” Khan said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Taliban delegation also met with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

This is the second delegation-level visit by the Taliban to Pakistan in the last four months. In August, a seven-member Taliban delegation, led by Baradar, had held talks with Foreign Minister Qureshi and spy chief Lt. Gen. Hameed.

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