ISLAMABAD                -            Pakistan participated in a virtual conference on Afghanistan, titled “Strengthening Consensus for Peace”, hosted by the Government of Afghani­stan, yesterday.

Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani and Chair­man High Peace Council for National Reconcilia­tion Dr. Abdullah Abdul­lah participated in the conference. Representa­tives of a number of coun­tries and international or­ganisations attended the conference.

Pakistan, in its state­ment, emphasized the im­portance of a peaceful and stable Afghanistan for the overall peace and stabil­ity in the region and be­yond. It was stressed that the signing of the US-Tali­ban peace agreement had created a historic oppor­tunity that must be seized by the Afghan leader­ship to work together and achieve an inclusive and comprehensive political settlement.

Pakistan also hoped that the release of pris­oners will be complet­ed soon as per the peace agreement to pave the way for the earliest com­mencement of Intra-Af­ghan Negotiations.

Pakistan stressed that there was a need for the international communi­ty to focus on ensuring early start and success­ful completion of intra-Af­ghan negotiations and not let these be derailed by “spoilers” who did not wish to see return of peace and stability in Af­ghanistan and the region.

The steps taken by Paki­stan to facilitate Afghan­istan’s trade by opening border crossing termi­nals after implementing COVID-19 related proto­cols were highlighted.

It was also reiterated that the repatriation and reintegration of Afghan refugees should be part of the peace and reconcil­iation process. The inter­national community was urged to support time-bound and well-resourced programme for return of Afghan refugees to their homeland with dignity and honour.

Pakistan, on its part, will continue to work with all sides, and regional and international partners, in helping Afghanistan achieve durable peace, sta­bility and prosperity