News / Asia

Pakistan Envoy Seeks to Ease Tensions with Afghanistan

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, speaks during a news conference in Kabul Jul. 21, 2013.
Sartaj Aziz, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's adviser on foreign affairs, speaks during a news conference in Kabul Jul. 21, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Pakistan has pledged to support Afghan peace efforts using “some influence and contacts” it has with Taliban rebels. But during his day-long visit to Kabul on Sunday, Islamabad’s new foreign policy chief denied allegations Pakistan is seeking Afghanistan’s breakup or a power-sharing role for the Taliban after international forces leave the war-ravaged country.

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s adviser on national security and foreign affairs, Sartaj Aziz, traveled to Kabul in a bid to ease bilateral tensions and renew efforts to start peace talks between Afghan and Taliban representatives.

Aziz spoke to reporters after meeting Afghan Foreign Minister Zalmay Rassoul.

“I have brought here a message of cordiality and goodwill from Pakistan. The new government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is deeply committed to strengthening Pakistan’s fraternal ties with the Afghan people. The main purpose of my visit is to convey a formal invitation from Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to President Karzai to visit Pakistan," he said.

The senior Pakistani advisor's visit came just days after the Taliban closed its newly opened political office in the Gulf state of Qatar following objections from Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai. They established the facility as part of a U.S. plan to engage the Taliban in the Afghan peace and reconciliation process before most American and NATO forces leave the country by the end of next year.

President Karzai accused the United States and neighboring Pakistan of allowing the Taliban to set up a government-in-exile and refused to send his peace negotiators to Qatar.

The strong reaction grounded the talks before they could even begin. Afghan officials also alleged that the Taliban office was part of a plot by either the United States or Pakistan to break up Afghanistan on ethnic lines.

Washington rejected the allegations as “nonsense.”  Pakistani diplomat Aziz, during his visit to Kabul, also denied Islamabad was trying to impose its own solution to end the Afghan war.

“There is no point in our discussing one system and another because it is not for us - it is for Afghans themselves to decide what system and what kind of post-2014 arrangements they would like to have.  So, there is no question of our making any proposals or suggestions in that regard," he said.

Pakistan helped the Taliban to take power in Afghanistan before the U.S.-led invasion ended their five-year rule in 2001. Afghan leaders suspect the Pakistani spy agency remains in contact with the Taliban insurgency in a bid to influence the peace efforts and promote the Islamist movement.

Aziz said that Pakistan facilitated travel of Taliban representatives to the Qatari capital of Doha at the request of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, which is tasked to promote the political reconciliation. At the council’s request, he said, Pakistan also released 26 Taliban detainees toward the end of last year and is willing to take such steps in future if asked.

“Obviously, we have some contacts with the Taliban because of the past but we don’t control them. So in future also if to the extent we are requested we can play the same role but at the appropriate time and in consultation with the other interested parties," he said.

Sartaj Aziz however, emphasized that it is for Afghans themselves to make the peace process successful.  Aziz said he hoped that President Karzai’s proposed visit to Islamabad will further help ease tensions and deepen political, economic as well as trade cooperation between the two neighboring countries.

You May Like

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Dr. Malek Towghi from: USA
July 22, 2013 12:34 AM
Our Cold War policies concerning the region have made the emergence of an ISI cum Taliban - ruled and China-mastered Greater Pakistan that will include the southern 60 % of Afghanistan inevitable. Only a sincerely coordinated plan of joint action by the US, India and Russia could be the remedy. Faster, Please, ... before it is too late.


by: Wilf Tarkin
July 21, 2013 8:01 PM
Why would the Afghan government think that Pakistan is hostile to them, just because Pakistan is conducting a covert war against Afghanistan, and the Haqqani network, the outfit carrying out the most brazen attacks in Afghanistan, is run by the Pakistani secret service?
And why would they think the US and Pakistan are plotting to divide Afghanistan just because the US is desperate and would agree to any terms to secure any sort of peace, and Pakistan still wants its "strategic depth", ie a hinterland held by islamic fundamentalists to keep India off Pakistans backside?

I pity Kabul. I really do. Because I think that is what will happen: the US will twist Kabul's arm to cede strategic regions of eastern Afghanistan to the Taliban (and by extension Pakistan), in return for "peace".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid