Ready to facilitate Afghan government, Taliban talks: Pakistan

Islamabad, June 25 (IANS) Islamabad is ready to facilitate a dialogue between the Kabul government and Taliban which is expected to start in the coming weeks, a top Pakistani diplomat has said.

“Pakistan is ready to play any possible role in the reopening of dialogue between Afghan Taliban and the Afghan government wherever it is being planned,” Dawn quoted Sartaj Aziz, a key advisor to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, as informing the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee.

The Taliban have previously shown reservations about Pakistan’s involvement in peace talks.

Aziz said the expected dialogue must have some positive impact on the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan with hopes that it might be reduced.

He said that not only the Taliban but many foreign fighters were still fighting in Afghanistan.

He stressed that the Afghan Taliban must respect the mandate given by the people of Afghanistan to those who are now in power after the Afghanistan elections last year.

Earlier, Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry told the committee that there were no foot prints of Islamic State and that there was no direct threat to Pakistan from IS. However, security agencies must be aware of the situation and take precautionary measures, he cautioned.

He confirmed the agreement for peace talks between Inter Services Intelligence and Afganistan’s intelligence agency National Directorate of Security but said the agreement was yet to be ratified and confirmed by the Afghan government.

The agreement for talks came only days after an attack on Afghanistan’s parliament the responsibility for which was claimed by the Afghan Taliban.

Afghanistan’s intelligence service has accused a Pakistani intelligence officer of helping the Taliban carry out the attack on the Afghan parliament.

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