The Afghan Taliban on Friday made a fresh pitch for peace talks between Pakistan and the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) as Islamabad’s efforts aimed at seeking action against the terror outfit by Kabul could not make headway.
Pakistan dispatched its special envoy to Kabul this week on a three-day trip to convey a clear message that the interim government will have to take a decisive action against the TTP. But the Afghan Taliban told him after a series of meetings that Pakistan should pursue the path of peace instead of use of force.
Ambassador Asif Durrani met with Afghanistan’s Acting Deputy Prime Minister Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs Mawlawi Amir Khan Muttaqi and other officials during his trip.
Official sources familiar with the closed door engagements told The Express Tribune that the Afghan Taliban leadership was told in clear terms that Pakistan’s patience was wearing thin vis-à-vis the TTP.
“The issue of terrorism, as I’ve said in the past, including in the last briefing, is an issue of serious concern to Pakistan. And Pakistan has raised this issue with the Afghan authorities on multiple occasions and at every important engagement that takes place between Pakistan and the Afghan interim authorities,” Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told her weekly news briefing.
“We have discussed the threat of terrorism emanating from the Afghan soil,” she added when asked whether Ambassador Durrani took up the issue of cross-border terrorism with the Afghan authorities.
But despite Pakistan’s insistence on action against the TTP, the Afghan Taliban government is not ready to go that path.
The deputy Afghan prime minister suggested the Pakistani envoy to pursue the “path of peace” instead of “use of force”, according to the sources. They said it was evident that the Afghan Taliban was not interested in taking action against the TTP. Instead, Kabul once against asked Pakistan to start peace talks with the TTP.
Pakistan has abandoned the peace process after the TTP stepped up attacks and took advantage of the earlier rounds of talks.
The civil and military leadership decided that Pakistan would no longer seek talks with the TTP. But at any stage if talks are needed those can only take place once the TTP surrenders.
The Afghan deputy prime minister asked Durrani that Pakistan should prefer peace over war. He said due to bitter experience of wars in Afghanistan, he would advise Pakistan to take the path of negotiations instead.
Maulvi Kabir said he sees peace in Pakistan in the interest of Afghanistan and considers acts of violence there as a loss for Afghanistan and as a Muslim country Afghanistan does not want fighting and unrest in Pakistan.
He assured the Pakistani envoy that the Afghan Taliban government had a policy of non-interference in the internal matters of other countries. He claimed that Afghanistan would not allow its soil to be used against any other country including Pakistan.
The sources said Ambassador Durrani would brief the government on his return from Kabul and give his assessment. The sources said Pakistan is unlikely to accept the Afghan Taliban offer.
The sources said Pakistan would devise its strategy keeping in view the input from the special envoy.
Source: The Express Tribune