ISLAMABAD: While urging all the stakeholders in Afghanistan to use their influences, Pakistan has said bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table is a shared responsibility but it is ready to play its part in this regard.
“Pakistan believes that convincing the Taliban to join the peace process is the shared responsibility of all stakeholders,” the Foreign Office spokesman Dr Muhammad Faisal said on Thursday during a weekly briefing. “All countries having contacts with the Taliban, including the US, should use their influence to bring them to the negotiating table,” he added.
His statement came in response to reports that the US has been pushing Pakistan to persuade the Taliban to come to the negotiating table. For this purpose the US President Donald Trump sent his point person for the region to Islamabad.
Alice Wells, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, held talks with the army chief, foreign secretary and other officials earlier this week.
Wells said Pakistan must do more to bring the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table. She also alluded to the oft repeated US charge that the Taliban leadership was hiding in Pakistan.
When asked to comment on the US expectations or demands, the spokesperson made it clear that Pakistan alone did not have the responsibility to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
He said Pakistan is committed to peace and security in Afghanistan and fully supports President Ashraf Ghani peace initiative. “There is no military solution to the decade’s long conflict in Afghanistan. We hope that Taliban would grab the opportunity for the unconditional peace talks,” he said.
The spokesperson confirmed that during the visit of Ambassador Wells, the two sides discussed the bilateral relationship as well as regional situation especially Afghanistan.
The two sides also shared the recent developments in the wake of ceasefire in Afghanistan on the occasion of Eidul Fitr and President Ghani’s offer for unconditional talks to the Taliban.
The foreign secretary had reiterated Pakistan’s support to the peace and reconciliation efforts by Afghanistan as well as other stakeholders. “The US has appreciated the engagement between Pakistan and Afghanistan particularly in the context of operationalisation of APAPPS,” he added.
The foreign secretary also raised issues of concern and importance to Pakistan, including border management, return of afghan refugees and the presence of anti-Pakistan sanctuaries on the other side of the border, he added.