Afghan FM arriving today to hold talks on reconciliation
* Two sides will also discuss situation along Durand line and measures to contain terrorism
ISLAMABAD: Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rassoul will arrive in Islamabad today (Friday) to hold talks with Pakistani officials on furthering reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
The Afghan minister would also discuss holding Ulma conference to help ending violence in the region besides other bilateral issues, Afghan official sources said. Confirming the visit, Afghan Embassy spokesman in Islamabad Zardasht Shams said that visit of Rassoul is aimed at further bringing the two countries closer in regional cooperation and enhance the ties between them ahead. He said that transit trade and other issues would be discussed.
Pakistan and Afghanistan had agreed to hold Ulma conference to defeat violence in the two countries and in the region. Now, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is also supporting the idea and on the occasion of D-8 summit he suggested to hold clerics conference of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Afghan delegation’s visit is followed by a trip to Islamabad by Afghan top peace negotiator few days ago who convinced Pakistan to release 13 Taliban prisoners, including a key military commander, to push forward the peace process.
Pakistan agreed to release some Taliban detainees in the country but release of former Taliban Deputy Chief Mullah Baradar was not ensured. Baradar was arrested in Karachi in 2010. So, a significant circle believes that Baradar release would also be discussed. According to Foreign Office, Afghan Foreign Minister Dr Zalmai Rassoul will be visiting Islamabad on the invitation of Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for bilateral talks on Friday, 30 November 2012.
During this visit, Dr. Rassoul will also call on the Pakistani leadership. He will be accompanied by a high level delegation from the Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The two sides would also discuss situation along Durand line on both sides and would discuss measures to contain terrorism. The US-led NATO troops are scheduled to hand over security of the country to Afghan forces in 2014. Britain, France, Australia and many other countries have already pulled out many of their troops from Afghanistan.
Afghanistan along with the international community is working hard to take Pakistan into confidence before the withdrawal of the NATO forces start. Pakistan itself wants to win over hearts and mind of Afghanistan to have friendly ties with the brotherly neighbour.