Afghanistan urges China to press Pakistan to make sincere efforts towards peace talks

Published: March 16, 2015
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Hekmat Khalil Karzai. PHOTO: @HEKMATKARZAI

Hekmat Khalil Karzai. PHOTO: @HEKMATKARZAI

ISLAMABAD: Afghanistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Khalil Karzai said on Monday that China had been urged to press Pakistan to make sincere efforts towards peace talks as he claimed face-to-face peace talks with the Taliban will start soon. But the claim was quickly dismissed by the Taliban as false.

Karzai did not give any date for the talks but claimed ‘progress’ in recent efforts for reconciliation with whom he termed “armed opponents”.

He added that the Afghan government is in the process of constituting a negotiation team, and a venue is being decided where talks could be held.

“Recently we have had success and in the near future direct talks will be held between Afghan government and the violent opposition,” the minister said at a seminar organised by the Center for Strategic Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan and the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Kabul.

“As we speak, the government is putting together an Afghan negotiation team and a venue is being decided on where to hold these talks.”

An Afghan official had earlier said that the venue will not be an issue and talks could be held anywhere. He said the talks could be held in Qatar, Pakistan, China, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, as well as in any other country.

China urged to press Pakistan for efforts towards peace talks

The Afghan minister also highlighted the role of China in the peace process.

“China has been playing an important role in the peace and reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan. Since it enjoys close relations with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, we encourage China to ask Pakistan for its sincere efforts in bringing peace to Afghanistan,” said Karzai.

Taliban say no talks yet

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid rejected Karzai’s claim, saying there is no change in their policy of not talking to the Kabul administration.

“The remarks of Hekmat Karzai are not new as several leaders have offered similar comments. We consider all these statements baseless,” Mujahid told The Express Tribune over telephone from Afghanistan.

The Taliban political office in Qatar, which has been silent since its closure July 2013, too offered comment.

“The Islamic Emirate has not assigned responsibility to anyone for contacts with the Kabul administration,” the Taliban Qatar office said in a statement. The statement is softer than the one issued by Mujahid and indicates that the Qatar office may have started activities towards talks.

The Taliban, however, have never officially indicated their willingness to join the intra-Afghan dialogue.

“Representatives of the political office in Qatar have neither travelled to any country regarding peace talks nor discussed the issue,” the Qatar office insisted.

A Taliban official said that the Taliban Central ‘Shura’, or council, is currently debating the possible “positive and negative impact of holding or refusing talks” with Ghani’s government.

“Internal consultations may take some more time as the Taliban leadership is not in a hurry to take a decision,” he said on the condition of anonymity.

He also denied the impression of differences within the Taliban about the issue of negotiations while referring to a report that dialogue has been delayed due to the differences between the Taliban number-two Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, and the former military chief Abdul Qayyum Zakir.

Zakir, a former Guantanamo inmate, stepped down as military chief in April last year “because of health conditions”.

“He [Zakir] has no position since then,” the Taliban leader, who is contact with Zakir said.

“The central council is the only powerful body to take any decision,” the Taliban leader said, adding there is no pressure on the Taliban to hold talks with Kabul.

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Reader Comments (9)

  • Sandip
    Mar 17, 2015 - 12:32AM

    Where has all the promises to behave by the pakistani military gone? out for a toss? so fast?Recommend

  • ModiFied
    Mar 17, 2015 - 1:18AM

    Its good that China is involved in Afghan peace process now. Unfortunately Chinese and Pakistani interests in Afghanistan are diametrically opposite. China should be ready for Pakistan’s duplicitous games. Pakistan thinks that even China has no business to be in Afghanistan. Recommend

  • Mirza
    Mar 17, 2015 - 1:45AM

    Why are all our neighbors skeptical about us? Is the whole world is wrong or ———?Recommend

  • usman786
    Mar 17, 2015 - 6:26AM

    Is China making dam on Kabul river in AfghanistanRecommend

  • faisal
    Mar 17, 2015 - 7:21AM

    Seems china is also going to join “”‘almi shazish””, why cant this world understand peace corps called Taliban. Wish people or I say establishment read an article published by Chinese, newspaper( communist party mouth piece), which they most probably picked up from some western country ,coming to conclusion that irrespective who wins war, Pakistan will be loser. I I always believe that honesty can not be quantified by vectors of financial impropriety, professional and intellectual corruption are far more damaging then financial corruption. Musharaf and Khyani could see writing on wall but turned other side. Recommend

  • Khattak
    Mar 17, 2015 - 8:55AM

    The new generation of Afghans Leaders are very smart. They are not like those simpleton mollas mujahids Talibs. Gen Hamid Gull & Co need to change their thinkings or be irrelevant in the brave new world. Priorities of US & UK are changing & they may reverse what they did 70 years ago.Recommend

  • imran
    Mar 17, 2015 - 9:28AM

    Chins doesn’t take dictation from anyone. It is the other way around. Pakistan has invited China into Afghanistan to counter Indian influence/dollars. Recommend

  • samir
    Mar 17, 2015 - 9:58AM

    Isnt a surprise coming from a ‘Karzai’. They will do anything except working with Pakistan. Everyone works directly with Pakistan except the Karzais…Recommend

  • objective observer
    Mar 18, 2015 - 2:12AM

    @samir:

    Actually Hekmat Karzai and his brother were never on good terms with Hamid Karzais faction of the karzai family.

    Hekmat Karzai is more of a pragmatic nationalist. Hamid Karzai was a corrupt enept oppurtunist.Recommend

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