Khalilzad predicts more intense fighting season
WASHINGTON (Pajhwok): Expressing his “disappointment” over Pakistan’s role in reviving the Afghan peace process, a former top American diplomat has said he “feels Washington’s assistance to Islamabad needs to be linked with its cooperation on bringing the terrorist groups to the peace talks table.”
“(The Islamabad) meeting was not encouraging to me,” the former US Ambassador to the UN, Afghanistan and Iraq told Pajhwok Afghan News in an exclusive interview.
Khalilzad said Pakistan needed to demonstrate it would take action against terrorist groups not joining the peace process.
“And this kind of commitment is not visible from Pakistan and was absent from the Islamabad meeting,” he said, referring to the first four-nation talks also involving US and Chinese officials.
“If they (terrorist groups operating from Pakistani soil) do not get involved in the peace process then Pakistan should make it clear it would move against those (groups),” Khalilzad said. “If it does not, then I believe it (Pakistan) is not serious about the peace process,” he claimed.
“What is really needed is to move against groups that are not reconcilable and are based in Pakistan so that their incentive to engage in the peace process increase or they are no longer able to military operations. That is the vital part moving toward the peace process,” insisted the Afghan-origin American diplomat.
He said if Pakistan did not act against groups not taking the path of peace, the peace process would produce no results.
Khalilzad said he had been hoping for such a move from Pakistan during the Islamabad talks, but that did not happen.
“My worry is that the peace process would be prolonged, creating the false impression that there is a serious peace process but in fact it is a cover for continuing military operation and the next fighting season would be more intense,” Khalilzad said.
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