Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani said that Pakistan is not part of the negotiations between Washington and the Taliban and is upset about it.
“We have told America that we are not happy with this,” said Haqqani in an exclusive interview with Express 24/7.
The Obama administration has recently confirmed that it had established contacts with the Afghan Taliban though it insisted the negotiations were at a preliminary stage. It is widely believed that the US has deliberately kept Pakistan at bay about its efforts to seek a peace deal with the Taliban ahead of the phased withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Earlier, a statement issued by the foreign ministry after talks between State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and US deputy special representative Frank Ruggiero, in cloaked diplomatic language complained that “the minister underscored the importance of clarity and strategic coherence as well as transparency to facilitate the Afghan people and the Afghan government in the process for peace and reconciliation.”
Haqqani’s statement is also the first official recognition of Pakistan’s displeasure at being excluded from the endgame in Afghanistan.
“If America believes that Pakistan’s participation is required for success in Afghanistan, they will have to get Pakistan on board in their negotiations with the Taliban,” said Haqqani.
Visas for CIA operatives
Haqqani dismissed reports that the Pakistan Embassy in the US had issued 67 visas to CIA operatives. A local newspaper last week quoted embassy officials in Washington as saying that the Pakistan embassy has issued visas to CIA officials for deployment in Pakistan.
“The news reports are rubbish, false … the media should be more responsible,” said Haqqani while dismissing the report.
Haqqani also said that Pakistan has lodged a protest with the Americans on militants crossing over from Afghanistan into Pakistan and launching attacks.
“The Americans should wipe out Taliban sanctuaries in Kunar and Nuristan,” he said.
The interview will be aired today on Express News.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2011.