Only negotiated settlement to bring lasting peace in Afghanistan: PM

ISLAMABAD, July 19 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that imposition of a government in Afghanistan by force would not lead to the resolution of the conflict and only a negotiated settlement would bring lasting peace and stability to Afghanistan.

He said that escalation of conflict and instability in Afghanistan was not in Pakistan’s interest as it would lead to serious challenges for Pakistan in areas of security and influx of refugees.

The prime minister was talking to US Special Envoy for Afghan Reconciliation ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad who called on him.

During the meeting, the exchange of views covered the prevailing situation in Afghanistan and the need for expediting the Afghan peace process.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad was on a one-day visit to Islamabad as part of his regional engagements.

The prime minister highlighted Pakistan’s constructive efforts for facilitating peace efforts for achieving an inclusive, broad-based and comprehensive political settlement to end over four decades long conflict in Afghanistan.

He emphasized the need for all Afghan sides to show flexibility and engage meaningfully with each other.

He further said that durable peace in Afghanistan would open avenues for regional economic connectivity.

Prime minister Khan recalled that he had consistently emphasized that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Reaffirming Pakistan’s consistent support to a peaceful, stable and united Afghanistan, the prime minister underlined that a secure and safe Western border was in Pakistan’s own best interest and Pakistan would like to remain closely engaged with the US and other relevant countries for peace efforts.

The prime minister said that as suggested by him at the recent Central Asia and South Asia Connectivity Conference in Tashkent, it was important for Afghanistan’s neighbours and regional countries to constructively work together for a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan.