Friday, 5 August 2011

Peace initiative: Afghanistan ready to include Pakistan in Taliban dialogue

Afghanistan has agreed to include Pakistan in the US-led dialogue with Taliban in its efforts to move forward on the national reconciliation process aimed at stabilising the Afghan society and ensuring peace in the region.
Talking to The Express Tribune on Wednesday, Afghan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Janan Musazai said that Kabul needs Pakistan’s urgent support and wants Islamabad to take “practical steps” in supporting the reconciliation process in the war-torn country, especially in view of the withdrawal of foreign forces, which US officials say is scheduled to take place by around 2014.
Musazai, who was in Islamabad as part of an Afghan delegation for a trilateral meeting, denied media reports speculating that little progress had been made in the talks. “Many issues with Pakistan have been resolved. Both the countries have reached a better understanding of the matter,” he said.
The spokesperson said that matters concerning the whereabouts of Taliban chief Mulla Omar or other militant leaders are no more an obstacle in the strengthening of ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“We want to stabilise the law and order situation in Afghanistan within the next two years and before the complete withdrawal of foreign troops,” he said.
“Pakistan can play a key role in this,” Musazai said.
According to the spokesperson, the US too has recognised the significance of Islamabad’s role in the reconciliation process.
The Karzai government is seen under tremendous pressure by Taliban fighters who have intensified attacks in recent days, raising fears about the capability of the Afghan national army and the police to deal with militancy after foreign troops leave.
Afghan Deputy Minister Jawed Ludin told reporters after the trilateral meeting that the reconciliation process in Afghanistan depends on the cooperation that Pakistan can extend in engaging the Taliban leadership.
“We want Pakistan to assist in bringing the top leadership of Taliban into the process,” he said.
“We believe that an effective solution requires a thorough political process which has already begun in Afghanistan with the support of President Karzai,” Musazai said.
Answering a question on cross-border tension, he said the issue surfaced at the talks and the Afghan delegation assured Pakistan that Afghan soil will not be used to launch any attacks against Pakistan or any other country for that matter.

A file photo of Taliban fighters.

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