Pakistan's PM Imran Khan to make maiden visit to Kabul


Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan will undertake his maiden trip to Kabul Thursday at the invitation of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, the Foreign Ministry announced.

He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation including Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, and other senior officials.

The day-long visit includes a "tete-a-tete" with the Afghan president, and delegation-level talks.

"The focus would be on further deepening the fraternal bilateral relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Afghan peace process, and regional economic development and connectivity," according to the official statement.

Khan's visit comes as intra-Afghan peace talks which began in Doha, Qatar in September to end the 19-year-long conflict are making little headway.

While violence in war-torn Afghanistan continues as Taliban resist calls for a cease-fire, a change in the US administration after the election of Joe Biden has added to the complexity.

Dialogue in the Gulf capital is the result of a landmark US-Taliban deal that envisages a timeline for the US troops' withdrawal from Afghanistan in return for Taliban agreeing to not allow its soil to be used by terrorists, and seek reconciliation with other Afghan groups.

Islamabad played a key role in brokering the peace process.

Trump, who is refusing to concede the Nov. 3 election, wants withdrawal of more troops by January 2021. However, there could be a change in strategy and terms once Biden takes over.

Taliban have said they expect the new US president to abide by the agreement signed on Feb. 29.

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