Talks with Taliban: Nawaz, Dobbins in high-level huddle over Afghanistan

Nawaz tells US envoy that Pakistan has the highest stakes in return to peace, stability in Afghanistan.


Web Desk/afp June 25, 2013
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif meets with US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins as Sartaj Aziz and Army Chief Ashfaq Pervez Kayani (Not in photo) look on. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday said that Pakistan has the highest stakes in a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, Radio Pakistan reported.

Meeting with the US Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan James Dobbins in Islamabad on Tuesday, the two discussed bilateral relations and the regional situation.

Ambassador Dobbins briefed the Prime Minister about developments relating to bilateral relations as well as efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan. In this connection‚ he elaborated on recent developments‚ including the opening of the Taliban office in Doha‚ developments within Afghanistan‚ and the overall situation in the region.

Nawaz assured Dobbins of Pakistan's full commitment to an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process and highlighted various steps Pakistan had taken in the regard.

Noting that the situation in Afghanistan had reached a crucial phase as the US proceeds with its drawdown‚ the premier stressed the need for Pakistan and the United States to remain closely engaged.

Nawaz was accompanied by the adviser on National Security Sartaj Aziz and Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Earlier, US envoy James Dobbins arrived in Islamabad to meet with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and other senior officials on efforts to open peace talks with Afghan Taliban, Pakistan's foreign ministry said.

Dobbins, who flew in from Kabul, will meet Sharif and "brief us on developments relating to Afghanistan," foreign ministry spokesperson, Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry told AFP.

Other Pakistani officials said the meetings of Dobbins, the US special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, will focus on "efforts to promote an Afghan-led reconciliation process".

The Afghan Taliban opened an office in Qatar last Tuesday in a step towards talks as the US-led NATO combat mission prepares to leave Afghanistan in 2014 despite a resilient Taliban insurgency 12 years after they were ousted following the 9/11 attacks.

But Afghan President Hamid Karzai reacted furiously to the office being styled as a Taliban government-in-exile under the rebels' white flag and using the formal name of the "Islamic Emirate Of Afghanistan" from their hardline 1996-2001 regime.

Kabul, which says it is committed to the peace process, insisted that the Qatar office be used for only direct negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.

Pakistani Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan in a video released to media said the insurgents will follow any decision taken by Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

"Mullah Omar is our Amir (chief) and we will abide by any decision he takes regarding peace talks with America," Ehsan said.

In Kabul on Monday, Dobbins said Washington had been "outraged" at the manner in which the Taliban opened the office, saying it was "inconsistent" with assurances the United States had given and received.

Some experts have suggested that Pakistan likely played a key role in persuading a reluctant Taliban to consider tentative peace talks with its American and Afghan government foes.

Western capitals believe that Pakistan can play a crucial role in helping to get the Taliban to the negotiating table as it was one of only three countries to recognise its 1996-2001 regime in Kabul.

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COMMENTS (7)

Babloo | 7 years ago | Reply

@Iqbal, You can worry about the protocol once you don't depend on other countries to keep you solvent and not go bankrupt on loans you have taken from WB and IMF.

np | 7 years ago | Reply

@Iqbal Hadi Zaidi: US has already decided the way forward and does not appear that they are seeking input from Pakistan. It is Pakistan that is trying to stay relevant with regards to Afghanistan withdrawal. Kerry was obviously not available to discuss the issue with Nawaz Sharif and COAS so either Nawaz and Kayani could get their briefing from Dobbins or not at all.

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