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Pakistan FM: Trust must be rebuilt between Islamabad and Kabul

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Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 23, 2019
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi
Asia   Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Saturday called for trust to be rebuilt between Islamabad and Kabul.

Pakistan on Saturday hosted a conference to bring together more than 50 Afghan leaders, including politicians and tribal elders, but there were no representatives of the Afghan Taliban militants, who have been fighting for years to expel foreign forces and defeat the U.S.-backed government in Kabul.

Relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been strained in recent years amid long-standing allegations by Kabul and Washington that Pakistan has been sheltering the Taliban militants since U.S.-led forces removed them from power in 2001, something Islamabad denies. Pakistan says its influence over the Taliban has waned over the years.

The United States has been pushing Pakistan to use its influence with the Taliban to open direct negotiations with the Kabul government, which the Taliban regard as an illegitimate foreign-imposed regime.

Qureshi, speaking in the Pakistani town of Bhurban in the Punjab province, said Islamabad wants a negotiated peace settlement between all sides as he said Pakistan continues to suffer security problems due to instability in Afghanistan.

“For far too long, the vicious circle of mistrust, often fed into by our common enemies, has affected our relationship. The blame-game has not helped either of us,” Qureshi said, according to his speech notes released by the foreign ministry.

“It is indispensable to move away from this negative paradigm. It is incumbent upon the leadership of the two countries to take practical steps to build mutual trust and confidence.”

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