ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will continue support to the Afghan peace process, Islamabad has told the United States and Afghanistan yesterday.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told The Nation that both the US and Afghanistan were happy with Pakistan’s efforts towards ensuring Afghan peace process.

“We have been seriously working on the Afghanistan peace in our own interest and in the interest of the region. Peaceful Afghanistan suits us,” he said.

Qureshi said the recent visit of Chairman of the High Council for National Reconciliation of Afghanistan Dr Abdullah Abdullah had been very successful and had improved the trust level.

“We have a shared job ahead. We must work together to achieve the goal of peace. Pakistan has a key role. The US and Afghanistan acknowledge our efforts,” he added.

Earlier, Abdullah Abdullah said that peace in Afghanistan will lead to peace in Pakistan, and ultimately the region.

In an interview after concluding his visit to Pakistan, Abdullah Abdullah said although small steps had been made, they would have a big impact.

Highlighting Pakistan’s role in the intra-Afghan dialogue he said: “We are appreciative of Pakistan’s role in the Doha agreement and later on in the negotiations.”

Abdullah said he was also appreciative of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s message that called for a reduction in the violence leading to a ceasefire.

Pakistan and Afghanistan had reaffirmed their commitment to closer ties and the Afghan peace process when Abdullah Abdullah visited Pakistan last month.

Abdullah struck a markedly conciliatory tone, emphasising his country’s appreciation of Pakistan’s help in the peace process and the need for a new era of bilateral relations, which have often gone through periods of deep mistrust.

“After many troubling years, we now need to go beyond the usual stale rhetoric and shadowy conspiracy theories that have held us back,” said Abdullah. “We cannot afford to pursue business as usual. We need fresh approaches and our people demand it of us,” he added.

Previously, Afghanistan and Pakistan accused each other of allowing safe havens for armed groups that target each other’s territory.

Cross-border attacks continued to occur on both sides, often targeting Pakistani security posts on the border which Pakistan treats as an international boundary but which Afghanistan has disputed.

Abdullah, who served until March as chief executive in the National Unity Government led by President Ashraf Ghani, has often accused Pakistan of supporting the militants.

However, those accusations were not repeated or addressed during the visit, with Abdullah choosing instead to commit his country towards not allowing its territory to be used against any other countries. “We do not want a terrorist footprint in our country or to allow any entity to pose a threat to any other nation,” he said.

Foreign Minister Qureshi also echoed Abdullah’s sentiments in a statement later. “We need to have recognition of the mistakes of the past. Unless we recognise that, how do we move forward? Let’s not shy away from reality. Let’s accept reality and add a new chapter to our bilateral relations and build a common future for ourselves,” he said.

Pakistan has been a key player in setting up direct negotiations, first between the United States and the Taliban - who have been fighting Afghan forces since it was toppled in a US-led invasion in 2001 - and again in facilitating the ongoing intra-Afghan dialogue process in the Qatari capital.

In an op-ed published in Washington Post, Prime Minister Imran Khan had reiterated the need for the Afghan peace process to move forward but added that it would be a slow process.

“All those who have invested in the Afghan peace process should resist the temptation for setting unrealistic timelines,” he said. “A hasty international withdrawal from Afghanistan would be unwise.”