Afghan peace process: Islamabad denies holding Taliban under its thumb

Published: May 21, 2016
Sartaj urges Kabul to adopt ‘unified, coherent’ approach to reconciliation. PHOTO: AFP

Sartaj urges Kabul to adopt ‘unified, coherent’ approach to reconciliation. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD: While acknowledging that Afghan Taliban have not responded positively to the four-nation peace initiative, Islamabad on Friday urged Kabul to come with ‘more unified and coherent’ approach in favour of reconciliation.

“Without reconciliation, peace cannot return to Afghanistan,” remarked Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz in a keynote address on Pakistan-Afghanistan dialogue organised by the Regional Peace Institute.“We believe that there is a need for more unified and coherent messaging from Kabul in favour of peace and reconciliation with Taliban,” said the adviser, suggesting that Pakistan was skeptical of the current approach of Kabul towards the peace initiative.

Pakistan doing everything to bring Taliban, Haqqani network to peace talks: Aizaz

Aziz attempted to dispel the impression that the Afghan Taliban were under Pakistan’s thumb. “Vested interests have often tried to create a perception that Pakistan actually controls the Taliban,” he said, adding that such an impression breeds unrealistic expectations from Pakistan.

Aziz said the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) had been making joint efforts to arrange direct talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban. “The Taliban have not yet responded positively to these efforts but we believe that QCG countries in line with their shared responsibility should continue efforts for peace talks,” he stressed.

The adviser made it clear that the peace process was the only best option available to restore stability in Afghanistan. However, he admitted that Pakistan and Afghanistan had to overcome their trust-deficit. “The mistrust between the two countries has also affected the efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” he said.

FO briefing: Islamabad welcomes Kabul-HIA peace deal

“There is a need for wide ranging discussion between Pakistan and Afghanistan at all levels. This would help to restore trust. We are ready to engage,” he suggested. He also urged Afghanistan to stop giving negative statements about Pakistan as, according to him, such a policy was impeding constructive engagement.

Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry told Reuters that Afghanistan must limit military gains by the Taliban and offer incentives to the insurgents to revive a faltering peace effort. The foreign secretary said efforts to persuade the Taliban to talk directly to the Kabul government could only bear fruit if the Afghan army stopped the Taliban from gaining the upper hand.

“We believe that there should be effective action by Afghan national security forces to ensure that there are no military gains by the Taliban,” Chaudhry told Reuters, in an interview late on Thursday.

“[The Taliban] need to realise that they would have more to gain on the table than they can do on the battlefield,” he said, adding that Pakistan was doing all it could to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2016.

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Reader Comments (4)

  • numbersnumbers
    May 21, 2016 - 9:58AM

    Curious that Pakistan conveniently forgets that it was doing all it could to destabilize Afghanistan over the last dozen years via its beloved Good Taliban terrorist assets!
    The Afghans have not forgotten this Pakistani Duplicity, so any TRUST will be decades coming!Recommend

  • May 21, 2016 - 11:13AM

    Amreeka should stop wasting our and it’s time and resources in Afghanistan. It had and has NO BUSINESS in that nation. Osama bin Laden is dead and now their work is over. So, leave the Afghans alone and keep you presence confined to New York, Oregon, Miami, and the Northen states. Wherever the US goes they leave behind a trail of death, destruction and damnation. Salams Recommend

  • BigFact
    May 21, 2016 - 12:52PM

    The Taliban represented the most stable govt with largest part of Afghanistan under one rule. Termed as “equivalent to America’s founding fathers” by the Americans themselves, they were abandoned, even attacked as soon as their cold war utility was over.
    India has no business being there except the desperate hope to hurt Pakistan through terrorism. Indian backed groups have influence in no more than 10% of Afghanistan, with the US exiting. So why whine and complain?Recommend

  • Khattak
    May 21, 2016 - 1:25PM

    US is not helpful either, release $700 million & Pakistan will start pushing Taliban to peace talks to keep its side of bargain. By the way Ghani Govt is done with Pakistan. He is visiting Qatar after signing Chabahar with Modi & Iran. NATO has just committed in terms of $ till 2020 & beyond. The world is willing to invest another trillion in Afghanistan if the need be.Recommend

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