ISLAMABAD: Several senior Afghan leaders arrived in Pakistan on Sunday for a conference on the future of their nation, amidst a brutal assault by the Taliban and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani fleeing the war-torn country.
Pakistan Representative for Afghanistan, Ambassador Muhammad Sadiq, tweeted that he received the Afghan delegation at Islamabad International Airport.
"Just received a high-level Afghan political leadership delegation," he said, adding that Speaker Ulusi Jirga Mir Rehman Rehmani, former minister Salah-ud-din Rabbani, former vice president Mohammad Yunus Qanooni, senior leaders Ahmad Zia Massoud, Ahmad Wali Massoud, Abdul Latif Pedram, Khalid Noor and Ustad Mohammad Mohaqiq were part of the delegation.
"Matters of mutual interest will be discussed during the Afghan political leadership's visit," he said.
The group consists of leaders who were part of the different governments after the Taliban was toppled in 2001. Their arrival coincided with President Ghani fleeing the country, extremely weakening the bargaining position of his supporters.
As they arrived, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said at a press conference that "Pakistan has no favourites" in the conflict and it is on the same page with the international community to find a political solution to the problems.
"Pakistan agrees that there should be no military solution to the Afghan issue and wants all problems to be resolved through dialogue," he said.
He said Pakistan's objective is to see the development and prosperity of Afghanistan.
To a question about recognising the Taliban government, he said: "When the time comes, Pakistan will recognise the Taliban government in line with international consensus, ground realities, as well as Pakistan's national interests."
He also said that he would soon get in touch with leaders of neighbouring countries to resolve the Afghan issue.
He said despite that rapidly changing situation, the Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan was working.
He urged the people of Afghanistan to work out their problem.
"Pakistan has always played the role of a facilitator in Afghanistan and will continue to do so," Qureshi said.
"It is our neighbouring country, therefore, we want to establish good relations with it."
The Taliban has made rapid territorial gains in Afghanistan in the last few week, which has coincided with the US and the NATO withdrawing their troops.
Currently, the Taliban has gained control over most of the country's 34 provincial capitals.
Herat, Jalalabad, Kandahar and all major cities, excepting Kabul, have fallen to the militants.
Meanwhile, Pakistan ambassador to Kabul, Mansoor Ahmad Khan, said that the embassy was working to help Pakistanis to get out of the country.
"Assure Pakistanis working/living in Kabul and adjoining areas that the Embassy is engaged with PIA (Pakistan International Airlines) to accommodate Pakistanis on regular and additional flights. We are also assisting those who have issues of affordablity," he said.