Keep chasing released Taliban, UK asks Pakistan
KABUL (PAN): UK Ambassador to Afghanistan Richard Stagg has urged Pakistan to keep chasing Afghan Taliban prisoners after their releases from the country's jails in order to address Afghanistan's concerns over their possible return to militancy.
"Released Taliban inmates should be followed under a mechanism to address Kabul’s concerns that they are not back to militancy," Stagg told Pajhwok Afghan News during an interview on Saturday.
A senior Pakistani official said on Friday Islamabad would give the Afghan high peace council a formal role in the release of remaining Taliban detainees in its custody through a new coordination mechanism being set up before they were freed.
“We would send lists of Taliban prisoners that we intend to release to the Afghan High Peace Council which would comment on the names in those lists,” Pakistan foreign secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani told the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.
The UK envoy to Afghanistan said Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his Afghan counterpart Hamid Karzai had agreed at the London talks hosted by British PM David Cameron to organise a joint conference of religious scholars from the two countries and other Islamic nations to seek their support for the peace campaign.
The joint uelma conference that has been twice rescheduled is now due to take place in Kabul next month.
"Pakistan and Afghanistan have realised that good relations between them is the key to peace in the two countries and in the region at large," said Stagg, who added key players in Pakistan had been engaged in the trilateral dialogue, initiated by Cameron last year. Without peace in Afghanistan, he insisted, Pakistan could not resolve unrest at home.
Stagg, who has been Ambassador to Afghanistan since April 2012, said Afghanistan was not the same it had been 12 years ago. "Now it has a strong army. The Taliban will not be able to come back and rule Kabul," he warned, asking the rebels to avail the chance of opening their political bureau in Qatar.