Afghan Peace Conference postponed by Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office said on Friday the Afghan Peace Conference being hosted by Pakistan had been postponed. “The new dates of the said conference will be announced later,” the FO said. The conference was postponed after President Ashraf Ghani, reportedly in his meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan, called for its cancellation. President Ghani, while speaking at a regional connectivity conference in Uzbekistan, also bitterly criticised Pakistan for its alleged support of Afghan Taliban.

The conference was postponed also because some of the invited Afghan leaders were travelling to Doha for a meeting with Taliban.

The Foreign Office had on Thursday said that Pakistan would host a three-day conference on Afghanistan from July 17 to July 19 to give a fresh impetus to the efforts for peace in the war-torn country.

The Taliban, the FO spokesman had earlier clarified, were not among the invitees as they had already visited Pakistan many times and held detailed discussions on the peace process.

Meanwhile, the FO denied allegations leveled by Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh that Pakistan Air Force provided aerial support to the Taliban insurgents who had occupied Spin Boldak border crossing.

“Pakistan Air Force has issued official warning to the Afghan Army and Air Force that any move to dislodge the Taliban from Spin Boldak area will be faced and repelled by the Pakistan Air Force. Pak Air Force is now providing close air support to Taliban in certain areas,” Saleh had tweeted.

The FO said the Afghan side had conveyed to Pakistan its intention of carrying out air operations inside its territory opposite Chaman Sector of Pakistan. Pakistan, it said, responded positively to Afghan government’s right to act in its territory and despite very close border operations, measures were taken on the Pakistani side to safeguard “our troops and population”.

It said that in similar situations such requests were normally not acceded to under internationally accepted norms, standards and procedures. “We acknowledge Afghan government’s right to undertake actions on its sovereign territory,” it added.

However, it was clarified that PAF never communicated anything to the Afghan Air Force.

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