Kabul-Islamabad talks to go on, hopes UN
WASHINGTON (PAN): Afghanistan and Pakistan should have coinciding interests in reducing the role of the Taliban in both countries and reducing the level of violence, a top UN official said on Wednesday, hoping political leaders in Kabul and Islamabad would soon start a political dialogue.
“Political logic tells me that Pakistan and Afghanistan should have coinciding interests in reducing the role of the Taliban in both countries and reducing the level of violence, which we have seen so drastically and so tragically,” UN Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson told a news conference in New York.
Having just returned from a five-day trip to Afghanistan, where he met top Afghan leaders including President Hamid Karzai, Eliasson hoped talks between Kabul and Islamabad would continue.
“There is hope that there could be a new start with the new government of Nawaz Sharif in Pakistan. There have been invitations in both directions. They have not agreed on the sequence of visits. But there is a dialogue on several levels, and I would very much hope that one would have an open and very, very honest discussion about future interests here,” he said.
“It is an historically very complicated relationship, and you have also difficulties with both sides having indications that the border is not fully respected, and that is also related to the movements of the Taliban. So it is a very complicated issue,” he said in response to a question.
He believed the future of Afghanistan would, to a great degree, be determined by Afghans themselves. But it was important that regional actors also played a positive and constructive role, and that there should be cooperative ties Afghan and Pakistani governments.
Reflecting on his interactions with people in Afghanistan, he heard one theme that came back in practically all his meetings was the importance of protecting the achievements of the past decade. “You have progress in health, education, human rights and women, as compared to the previous period and several other countries in the region,” Eliasson said.
“It is, of course, extremely important for the people of Afghanistan, but also for the United Nations and the many nations that have contributed to this transition, that the country does not fall back into the nightmares of war and the extreme poverty and violations of human rights that we saw earlier,” he said.
The official said he had conveyed that the intention of the United Nations was to continue its partnership with Afghanistan based on the wishes of the government and people. The UN would provide support where and when needed, following modalities that respected Afghan leadership and sovereignty," he concluded.
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