Pakistan reiterates support for Afghan reconciliation
The dawn.com quoted military spokesman as saying: “While onus for such negotiations to succeed lies on both parties concerned, Pakistan in all sincerity will support the process, as peace in Afghanistan will contribute to peace in the region. We hope all stakeholders will continue to act with responsibility not to allow detractors of peace to succeed.”
The rare statement by military’s public affairs wing on the Afghan reconciliation process was issued in response to reports in the international media that Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif, during his visit to Kabul, indicated to the Afghan leadership that Taliban might be willing to open dialogue.
Quoting a well-placed source, the paper said that there could soon be a move towards reconciliation with Taliban opening direct talks with the Ashraf Ghani government in a departure from their longstanding position of not engaging Kabul.
Pakistani authorities lately renewed their efforts to nudge Taliban towards dialogue with the Afghan government and seem encouraged by the initial response from the insurgent leadership.
“Pakistan is trying with all its sincerity,” the source said. The effort is apparently at a nascent stage.
The ISPR statement subtly confirmed this as it said: “Reconciliation between the Afghan government and Afghan Taliban to bring lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan always comes up during any meeting related to Afghanistan. Pakistan has always supported such process.”
There is also regional support for the process. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had during his visit to Islamabad last week offered to “facilitate and play constructive role” in reconciliation. He had also appreciated Pakistan’s role vis-à-vis Afghanistan and said: “Pakistan has an irreplaceable role in resolving the Afghan issue. Pakistan has a strong will for playing a constructive role for its resolution.”
Relationship between Islamabad and Kabul, particularly security and intelligence cooperation, has improved markedly since Ashraf Ghani succeeded Hamid Karzai in the presidency. Kabul cooperated with Pakistani authorities in an unprecedented way after the tragic Peshawar school incident. But now Afghanistan is looking towards Pakistan for helping it reach a settlement with the Taliban insurgents, besides other security steps for preventing the militants from using Pakistani soil for launching attacks in upcoming fighting season.
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