Islamabad, Apr 18 (PTI) Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday said that Islamabad supports an “orderly and responsible” pullout of foreign troops from Afghanistan and hoped that their withdrawal will coincide with the peace process in the war-torn country.
Qureshi, who is in the UAE, received a call from Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Hanif Atmar, according to a statement issued by the Pakistan Foreign Office.
During the call, the two foreign ministers discussed ways and means to strengthen bilateral relations and the latest developments in the Afghan peace process.
Qureshi “hoped that withdrawal of foreign troops would coincide with the progress in the peace process,” it said.
He underscored Pakistan’s consistent policy to enhance bilateral relations and facilitate the Afghan peace process. He said Pakistan supports an “orderly and responsible” pullout of foreign troops from Afghanistan, it said.
Qureshi’s remarks came in the wake of US President Joe Biden’s announcement this month that all American troops would be withdrawn from the strife-torn country by September 11 to end America's longest war that has cost trillions of dollars and the lives of over 2,400 American soldiers.
During a televised address to the nation, Biden said that keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year made 'little sense' to him and to other leaders and urged countries in the region, especially Pakistan, as well as Russia, China, India and Turkey to 'do more' to help ensure peace in Afghanistan.
He said the US will begin final withdrawal from Afghanistan on May 1 of this year. There were 2,500 to 3,000 US troops in Afghanistan when Biden took office in January.
Qureshi said Pakistan’s facilitative support led to US-Taliban Peace Agreement and the subsequent Intra-Afghan negotiations.
The foreign minister expressed hope that the Afghan parties would work constructively to achieve the shared objective of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan.
Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to deepen bilateral ties in all areas of mutual interest. The foreign minister invited his Afghan counterpart to visit Pakistan after the meeting in Istanbul. The Afghan foreign minister accepted the invitation, the statement said.
Qureshi left on a three-day trip to the UAE on Saturday where he was scheduled to hold talks with UAE leaders on various bilateral and international issues, it said. PTI SH MRJ MRJ