Pakistan ready to help revive intra-Afghan talks: Sharif
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Islamabad is prepared to assist Kabul in reviving peace talks with the Taliban, but military action against the insurgents should be stopped, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Friday.
“I have again conveyed to President Ghani that, if he desires, we are prepared, to assist in reviving the talks between Kabul and the Afghan Taliban. But we cannot bring them to the table and be asked to kill them at the same time,” Sharif said.
Speaking at the US Institute of Peace, a Congress-funded American think-tank based in Washington, the prime minister said Pakistan had no reason to desire violence in Afghanistan.
“The attacks on the Afghan government, and indeed on Pakistan, emanate from vast areas in Afghanistan now under Taliban control. Pakistan's priority is to defeat the TTP, which has also found bases on Afghan territory. Peace within Afghanistan will enable Pakistan to eliminate the TTP threat,” he added.
Noting the security environment in Afghanistan had deteriorated, he condemned all terrorist violence in the country. There were two paths to peace in Afghanistan: A military victory over the insurgents and negotiated peace and national reconciliation, he explained.
“Over the past 14 years, a military solution has been elusive. We believe that it is unlikely to be achieved in the future. Thus, achieving peace through negotiations is the best option,” Sharif argued.
“Pakistan undertook, at President Ghani's behest, to facilitate a dialogue between Kabul and the Tehrik-i-Taliban Afghanistan. A first round of intra-Afghan talks was held in Murree. Both sides characterised this round as encouraging,” he said.
A second session was set for July 31, but A few days before that, untimely revelations about the death of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, produced predictable consequences, Sharif continued.
“Without the authority of their leader to engage in dialogue, the Taliban broke off the talks. In their succession struggle, their default option was to revert to a fighting mode,” concluded the prime minister.
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