Spanta slams Aziz remarks as clear interference
KABUL (Pajhwok): National Security Advisor Dr. Rangin Dadfar Spanta on Thursday said recent remarks by his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz were clear interference in the internal affairs of Afghanistan.
Aziz, senior adviser to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on national security and foreign affairs, told a Washington audience on Tuesday he saw a chance to resume stalled peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban once President Hamid Karzai stepped down.
“My own feeling is that after the election (in April) the Taliban will probably talk to the new government more ... than the present government," he said.
In a deepening row with Washington over the bilateral security agreement, President Karzai is preparing to leave office in May this year after 12 years in power.
Karzai has demanded that the US restart frozen peace talks with the Taliban as a condition for allowing US troops to remain in his country beyond 2014.
Aziz, who led Pakistan at the Strategic Dialogue with US Secretary of State John Kerry this week, also touched on some of the mutual concerns the two sides have had in recent years and said that building trust could greatly spur the bilateral relationship.
Speaking at a press conference in Kabul, Spanta accused Pakistan of deliberately not releasing from its custody some Taliban senior leaders willing to negotiate peace with Kabul administration.
“Pakistan should release the Taliban prisoners, who can play an effective role in an Afghan-led peace process,” he said.
He did not elaborate. However, it is said some senior Taliban leaders currently in Pakistan custody have been demanding the resumption of peace talks with the Afghan government.
Spanta said the Afghans had rendered countless sacrifices for achieving peace and defending the motherland and the world should not ignore those sacrifices.
Despite many challenges and problems, he said, the Afghan government had been defending the country and its interests.
On the BSA with the US, Spanta called the deal a source of achieving economic prosperity and development in Afghanistan.
However, he said the deal would not be signed until Afghanistan’s conditions were incorporated in it.
He said talks on the security agreement had not been stopped and the document would be signed after the US identified hurdles to the Afghan-led peace talks.
“The US should tell where the problems exist and who are the perpetrators?,” he said, adding work on the deal was still ongoing and once problems were defined, the accord would be signed ahead of the April elections.
Without going into details, Spanta said the US should come clean on matters discussed between the sides during exclusive sessions.
The Obama administration has been pressing Karzai to sign the security pact that would permit some US and NATO troops to remain in the country beyond this year.
A main obstacle to the US-backed effort to get peace talks going in earnest has been the Taliban's reluctance to engage in direct talks with the Karzai government.
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