ISLAMABAD - Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi yesterday said peace in Afghanistan was vital for the whole region.

Speaking to Ambassador-designate for Afghanistan Mansoor Ahmad Khan here, Qureshi said Pakistan had played a key role to ensure peace in Afghanistan.

The Foreign Minister said peace in Afghanistan was very crucial for stability in the entire region. He hoped that nomination of Mansoor Ahmad Khan as ambassador will prove to be helpful in further strengthening the bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Qureshi congratulated Khan on his appointment and said he had been given the new responsibilities in view of his “excellent services.” “You are going to assume your responsibilities as an Ambassador at a time when Pakistan is facing many challenges both internally and externally,” the FM said, adding that peace in Afghanistan was vital for regional stability and that he hoped Khan’s appointment would “help further strengthen Pak-Afghan bilateral relations.”

Khan has previously served as Pakistan’s Ambassador to Vienna.

The envoy also held a meeting with President Arif Alvi who said Islamabad attached special importance to its relations with Kabul and was making sincere efforts to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.

The President said peaceful and stable Afghanistan is not only in the interest of the two neighbouring countries but of the entire region.

The President said Pakistan and Afghanistan share a common culture and religion and relations between the two countries need to be further expanded.

He urged the Ambassador-designate for Afghanistan to work for strengthening economic, political and public relations between the two neighbouring countries.

Earlier, the Afghan government named a career diplomat, Najibullah Alikhil, as its new Ambassador to Pakistan, to replace Atif Mashal who resigned in July this year.

Pakistan and Afghanistan have both named new Ambassadors at a time when key intra-Afghan talks between the Kabul government and the Afghan Taliban are about to begin. Islamabad’s role is considered vital for arranging these talks.