Kabul seeks crackdown on terrorists before peace talks
KABUL (Pajhwok): The Afghan government on Saturday asked Pakistan to defeat terrorist groups staging attacks in Afghanistan before the two countries could enter a discussion on the stalled peace process.
The comments come after Pakistan renewed its offer to facilitate a second round of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Recently the Foreign Office in Islamabad said if the Afghan government and the Taliban were willing to hold talks, Pakistan was ready to facilitate the process.
Earlier, Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Sartaj Aziz and the army chief Gen. Raheel Sharif had renewed offers of cooperation with efforts for reviving the peace parleys.
But deputy presidential spokesman Syed Zafar Hashmi on Saturday said Pakistan should first eliminate terrorist groups, which used Pakistan soil for attacks inside Afghanistan.
“If Pakistan takes this step, Kabul will discuss the peace process with Islamabad,” he explained.
After the disclosure of Mullah Omar’s death, his successor Mullah Mansour had declared at his inauguration ceremony in Quetta, the capital of Balochistan province, that they would continue their war in Afghanistan.
The spokesman said President Ashraf Ghani had it made it clear that the Afghanistan conflict had two aspects – internal and external.
“As a country and government having a constitution, we have never closed our doors on Taliban for peace talks. Anyone who is ready to accept the Afghanistan constitution, we are ready to reconcile with them.”
He added the government would fight those hell-bent on war. “Pakistan should have the same definition for terrorism in Afghanistan it has been applying to terrorists on its own soil,” Hashmi said.
The first round of talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban took place in July this year brokered by Pakistan, with the US and China playing the role of observers.
The second round was scheduled to take place a month later, but the Taliban suspended the talks after the announcement of Omar’s death.
This was followed by a series of suicide attacks in Kabul, killing and wounding hundreds of people, prompting President Ghani to refuse his government’s participation in next talks.
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