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India has no role in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said Thursday, asserting that Islamabad played a key role in arranging direct talks between the Taliban and the US to find a peaceful solution to the longstanding Afghan problem.

Speaking at the weekly briefing, Mohammad Faisal said Pakistan always maintained that the solution to the conflict in Afghanistan lies in an Afghan-led and Afghan owned peace process.

“In pursuance of that (policy), we have facilitated direct talks between the US and the Taliban,” he said.

He said Pakistan was convinced that an intra-Afghan dialogue will lead to peace and stability in the war-torn country.

“In our view, intra-Afghan dialogue is crucial for success and sustainability of peace process in Afghanistan. Pakistan will continue to support and facilitate Afghan peace process in good faith and as part of a shared responsibility,” he said.

Responding to a question on India’s role in the country, Faisal said “India has no role in Afghanistan”.

Faisal’s remarks contradict Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi’s earlier statement in which he acknowledged that India had stakes in Afghanistan and its cooperation was necessary for the peace process.

“Some meetings have taken place (among key stakeholders) for establishment of peace in Afghanistan. India also has stakes in Afghanistan and its cooperation will also be needed,” Qureshi said last month.

India has been a key stakeholder in the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan and has committed aid worth USD 3 billion to the war-ravaged country.

Faisal said Prime Minister Imran Khan will visit Qatar on an official invitation on January 21 and will meet the Amir and Prime Minister of Qatar.

“Issues of mutual interest will be discussed during the visit. The Prime Minister will discuss the import of manpower by Qatar from Pakistan,” he said.

Faisal said President of the UN General Assembly Maria Fernanda Espionosa will visit Pakistan from January 18 to 22, which is her first to any country in the Asia-Pacific region after her election.

During her visit, Espionosa will call on the President and the Prime Minister. The Foreign Minister will also hold a meeting with the visiting dignitary, he said.

Faisal said Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will visit Pakistan next month and the dates were being worked out. He said both sides were busy to finalise agreements to be signed during his trip.

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