ISLAMABAD                   -             Pakistan and the United States are in contact to ensure implementation of the peace deal recently signed between Washington and the Afghan Taliban, the country’s top diplomat said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told The Nation that Islamabad had played a key role regarding the peace deal and hoped to see long-lasting peace in the war-torn country.

“We are in contact with the US and Afghanistan. There peace deal is expected to bring peace,” he said.

Qureshi said the US is expected to settle the tension between the political rivals – President Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah - in Afghanistan.

Last day, Pakistan had urged the US and Afghanistan to keep their eyes open after 27 people were killed and 29 wounded in an attack on Afghanistan leader Abdullah Abdullah in Kabul.

Foreign Minister Qureshi said there were anti-peace elements in and outside Afghanistan who needed to be defeated. “An eye will have to be kept on those that are sabotaging the peace process. The US and other global powers need to be alert. Taliban have denied any involvement in it,” he said.

This week, Pakistan said Afghan dispute on claims to power should be resolved for the war-torn country’s stability. “This issue should be sorted out. We (Pakistan) participated in the presidential inauguration (this week). There will be some solution soon,” FM Qureshi had said.

Earlier, Ghani and Abdullah claimed they won the presidential election and declared themselves as president at rival inauguration ceremonies.

Foreign Office spokesperson Aisha Farooqui said the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan had announced the victory of President Ashraf Ghani in the elections.

“Subsequently, Pakistan felicitated President Ashraf Ghani and Prime Minister Imran Khan also conveyed felicitations and best wishes for the new President and for the Afghan people,” she said.

She said Pakistan had always maintained that the US Taliban peace agreement was a historic step towards the ultimate goal of achieving peace and stability in Afghanistan.

“The Peace Agreement reflects commitment by both the US and Taliban to work constructively. It is now imperative to seize the opportunity towards the next step of intra-Afghan negotiations,” she added.

The spokesperson said Pakistan believed an intra-Afghan dialogue was a crucial step in this journey towards durable peace and prosperity in Afghanistan.

“Pakistan has played its role as a facilitator and we hope that now the representatives of the Afghan people will lead Afghanistan from conflict and strife to peace and security in the days and months ahead,” she said.

International relations expert Dr Zafar Nawaz Jaspal said the peace agreement was a great development for the region. “For more than 40 years, there has been the rule of war lords. To get out of anarchical situation, one needs time and continuous effort. We should keep in mind that the United States will always demand from us to do more,” he added.

Defense analyst Lt. General Naeem Khalid Lodhi (retd) said Afghan peace agreement was a great sign for the entire region. “Afghan Taliban have agreed to take responsibility for the areas which are under their control. Still, there are many elements who do not want peace and stability in the region,” he remarked.

Semnior diplomat Ambassador Riaz Muhammad Khan hoped (retd) said that external actors would allow space to Afghan factions to work on their differences.

He highlighted that just like many other talks before the Doha agreement, it was unclear whether this one will culminate into “something positive.”