Islamabad - Army chief General Raheel Sharif yesterday met the Qatari leadership in Doha to discuss facilitation in the Afghan reconciliation process, ISPR said.

Army Chief General Raheel Sharif who is on an official visit to Qatar separately called on Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani and Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa al-Thani in Doha on Monday.

Matters related to regional security and enhanced bilateral defence cooperation came under discussion during the meetings.

Facilitation of reconciliation process in Afghanistan through Qatar office was discussed in detail.

Qatari leadership reiterated that Pakistan and Qatar share brotherly relations which over a period of time are transforming into strategic and mutually beneficial ties.

Both the sides expressed satisfaction at the level of defence relations between armed forces of two countries and underscored the importance of further enhancing the cooperation.

The leadership of Qatar acknowledged Pakistan’s role in bringing about regional stability and appreciated Pakistan Army’s efforts in countering terrorism and bringing peace in the region.

The army chief also held separate meetings with Minister of Defence Affairs Doctor Khalid Bin Muhammad al-Attiya and Commander Qatari Emiri Land Force Major General Muhammad Bin Ali al-Ghanim.

The visit of General Raheel is seen as crucial as it came a day before the fourth round of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) meeting, to be held today, in Kabul that is likely to set a date for talks between the Taliban and Afghan government.

The Taliban have their political office in Qatar and leaders of the movement insist the office has been authorised to hold political negotiations.

The Quadrilateral Group on Afghanistan in third meeting in Islamabad on February 6 had agreed to approach the Taliban office in Qatar to encourage them to join the reconciliation process.

The date for resumption of direct talks between Kabul and Taliban is likely to be announced this week when senior officials from Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and the United States sit together as part of ongoing efforts to strike a peace deal in the war-torn country.

Observers and analysts are attaching much importance to the visit of General Raheel Sharif to Doha to take the Qatari leadership on board over the four nations group to help facilitate Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

The army chief has earlier been involved in consultation with Afghan leaders about the peace process during his series of visits to Kabul. Last week, he had received Afghan ambassador Dr Omar Zakhilwal and assured his full support to the peace process.