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Head of Afghan peace process visits Pakistan

By AFP - Sep 29,2020 - Last updated at Sep 29,2020

ISLAMABAD — The Afghan official overseeing Kabul's efforts to forge a deal with the Taliban arrived on Monday for a three-day visit to Pakistan, the influential neighbour considered vital to the peace process.

Abdullah Abdullah, previously Afghanistan's chief executive, was meeting senior officials in Islamabad for the first time as chair of his country's High Council for National Reconciliation.

"Abdullah's visit will greatly help to strengthen relations with Afghanistan and forge a common understanding on the Afghan peace process," Pakistan's foreign ministry said in a statement after Abdullah met Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.

"Qureshi underlined the high importance Pakistan attached to its brotherly relations with Afghanistan," the statement read, adding that the return of millions of Afghan refugees currently residing in Pakistan must be included in peace talks.

Negotiations in Doha started September 12 but have slowed as the two sides grapple with several foundational issues, including which interpretation of Islam should be used to frame Afghanistan's future.

"Definitely things take time," Khairullah Khairkhaw, a senior member of the Taliban negotiating team, told reporters in Doha.

"There are many issues, 20 or more, that need clarity."

Nader Naderi, a member of Kabul's negotiating team, said both sides would meet to discuss several pressing topics including a ceasefire.


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