Taliban say will visit Pakistan in the “coming weeks” if formally invited

(L to R) Ziaurrahman Madani, Qari Din Mohammad Hanif, Noorullah Noori, Mohammad Nabi Omari, Khairullah Khairkhwa, and Mawlawi Abdul Haq Wasiq attend the Intra Afghan Dialogue talks in the Qatari capital Doha on July 8, 2019. (AFP/File)
Updated 25 July 2019

Taliban say will visit Pakistan in the “coming weeks” if formally invited

  • Pakistani PM says will meet Taliban to persuade the group to hold talks with Afghan government
  • Taliban have so far refused direct contact with the Kabul administration which they consider a puppet regime

ISLAMABAD: The Afghan Taliban will visit Pakistan in the “coming weeks” if a formal invitation were extended, Taliban political spokesman said on Wednesday, a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said he would meet Taliban leaders to convince them to hold negotiations with the Afghan government. 
The United States and the Taliban are getting closer to a deal that is expected to be centered on a US pledge to withdraw troops in exchange for a Taliban promise not to let Afghanistan be used as a base for terrorism by its own fighters or militants belonging to other groups. The Taliban have refused so far to hold direct talks with the Kabul administration which they consider a foreign-appointed, puppet regime.
Earlier this month, three officials of the Afghan government joined a delegation of over 50 people at an intra-Afghan conference in Doha that was also attended by Taliban political envoys to discuss the future set up in the war-ravaged country. The Taliban insisted then that the Afghan government officials were only present in their personal capacity and not as representatives of the government. 
Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen said on Wednesday the group’s visit to Pakistan could take place in the coming weeks.
“We travel to regional and other countries in the world and hold meetings,” he told Arab News via telephone from Doha. “Pakistan is our neighboring and Muslim country. Members of the political office of the Islamic Emirate will visit Pakistan if a formal invitation is extended to us. We will discuss the issue of refugees and other related issues.”
When asked when the visit could be expected, he said: “in the coming weeks.”
During an appearance at the United States Institute of Peace on Tuesday, Khan said: “I will meet the Taliban and I will try my best to get them to talk to the Afghan government.”
He said a Taliban delegation had wanted to meet him a few months back but he did not because of opposition from the Afghan government. 
There are now reports that Khan has discussed his plan to receive Taliban leaders in Pakistan with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, who has given his go ahead. 
Taliban and US representatives are scheduled to resume talks in the coming days to remove differences on a timeframe for the withdrawal of foreign forces.
Even as talks continue, the Taliban and the government have continued fighting. Afghan government forces mistakenly killed seven civilians, including children, in an attack on militants south of the capital, a provincial official said on Monday, the latest victims of a war undiminished by peace talks.


Makkah governor, Pakistan’s consul general discuss Hajj arrangements

Updated 05 February 2020

Makkah governor, Pakistan’s consul general discuss Hajj arrangements

  • Majid presented a painting of Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque, named after King Faisal, to the Makkah governor
  • Prince Khaled welcomed the consul general and recalled fond memories of his visit to Pakistan many years ago

MAKKAH: Khalid Majid, consul general of Pakistan in Jeddah, recently paid a courtesy call to Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal.
Majid expressed his gratitude for the facilities extended to the Pakistani mission as well as to the Pakistani community in the Kingdom.
Prince Khaled welcomed the consul general and recalled fond memories of his visit to Pakistan many years ago, and acknowledged the cordial relations between the two countries.
Issues related to the Pakistani community and upcoming Hajj arrangements were also discussed. The consul general extended an invitation to Prince Khaled to visit Pakistan at his earliest convenience, which was accepted.
Majid presented a painting of Islamabad’s Faisal Mosque, named after King Faisal, to the Makkah governor.