Pakistan joins US-led call for Afghan ceasefire, talks

Afghan National Army (ANA) officers march during a training exercise at the Kabul Military Training Center in Afghanistan in this October 7, 2015 file photo. (Reuters)
Updated 13 July 2019

Pakistan joins US-led call for Afghan ceasefire, talks

  • A joint statement issued by the US has urged Afghan factions to ‘produce a peace framework as soon as possible’
  • Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to visit Washington on July 22 to meet with President Donald Trump

WASHINGTON: Pakistan, which supported Afghanistan’s former Taliban regime, on Friday joined the United States, Russia and China in a call on the insurgents to agree to a cease-fire and negotiations with Kabul.
Pakistan joined the three powers in talks in Beijing that come as the United States moves closer to an agreement with the Taliban to pull troops from Afghanistan and end its longest-ever war.
The four countries “encouraged all parties to take steps to reduce violence leading to a comprehensive and permanent cease-fire that starts with intra-Afghan negotiations,” said a joint statement issued by the United States.
They called for direct negotiations involving the Taliban, President Ashraf Ghani’s government and other Afghans to “produce a peace framework as soon as possible.”
Members of the Taliban and government met earlier this week in Qatar, a breakthrough even though participants were said to be there in a personal capacity.
The Taliban, believing they have an upper hand as they seek a US troop withdrawal, have refused to negotiate with the internationally recognized government or to halt its deadly campaign of attacks.
Pakistan, whose relations with the United States have been rocky over its handling of extremists, has sought to use its influence with the Taliban to help reach a deal.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan is set to come to Washington on July 22 to meet with President Donald Trump, who is impatient to end the war launched after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
US negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has sought understandings with Russia and China despite the two powers’ rivalries with the United States.
The Soviet Union fought US-backed Islamic guerrillas in a disastrous intervention in the 1980s, while China is keen to prevent any spread of extremism.


Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over cross-border firing

Updated 15 min 4 sec ago

Pakistan summons Indian diplomat over cross-border firing

  • Two children among those killed in Kashmir attack by Indian army, Foreign Office says
  • Islamabad says cease-fire violations are a threat to regional peace and security

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday summoned India’s Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to lodge a protest against the unprovoked firing by Indian troops across the border in which three civilians, including two children, were killed, the Foreign Office said.

Mohammad Faisal, Director General South Asia, and SAARC further condemned the cease-fire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC) on Tuesday.

“Due to indiscriminate and unprovoked firing by the Indian Army in Nezapir Sector of LoC, three innocent civilians, Ghulam Qaider s/o Lal Din 55 years, Mariam Bibi 12 years and Haider Ali 10 years, residents of village Kirni, embraced Shahadat (martyrdom) while eight others, including women and children, sustained serious injuries,” excerpts from the statement read.

It added that the Indian forces have been consistently targeting civilian-populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars, and automatic weapons.
“The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights, and humanitarian laws,” the statement said, adding that the cease-fire violations are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation.

There was no immediate comment from India.

Tensions soared high between India and Pakistan since New Delhi revoked Kashmir’s special constitutional status by abolishing Article 370 of the Indian constitution on August 5.

Islamabad reacted with fury to India’s decision, cutting trade and transport ties and expelling India’s ambassador.