Pakistan says it has no “hidden agenda” in Afghanistan and has rejected as “frivolous” allegations that it is supporting Afghan Taliban insurgents in their deadly attacks on NATO forces.
At the end of her day-long talks with Afghan officials in Kabul Wednesday, Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar told reporters that her country wants peace and stability in Afghanistan, saying continued conflict in the neighboring country is “a threat to the existence of Pakistan”.
She reiterated that her country is determined to support any Afghan-led effort aimed at establishing peace in the war-ravaged nation.
“We have to start engaging in the end of blame games. We have to evolve a cooperative approach which is there to deal with the common challenges that both the countries face," Khar said. "Let me also say quite clearly that Pakistan has no hidden agenda in Afghanistan.”
Following the talks with Foreign Minister Khar, President Hamid Karzai said his government recognized the “effective role Pakistan can play” in the Afghan peace process. The Afghan leader also noted that insecurity on both sides of the border has inflicted great harm to the people and progress of the two countries.
Khar’s visit coincided with the leak of a secret NATO report alleging that Taliban insurgents are targeting international forces in Afghanistan with the help of the Pakistani spy agency, the ISI.
The Pakistani minister dismissed the report, saying it can be disregarded "as a potentially strategic leak”.
“For me, this is old wine in an even older bottle. I don’t think these claims are new these claims have been made for many years. I think it will be important to look at the conversations which are taking place with the Taliban by many other important capitals of the world,” Khar stated.
Khar was referring to reported contacts between Taliban and American officials aimed at helping the insurgents to set up a political office in Qatar before the launch of peace negotiations.
President Karzai’s own efforts to engage in peace and reconciliation with the Taliban suffered a major blow late last year when a suicide bomber killed Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator, Burhanuddin Rabbani.
Afghan allegations that the assassination was planned in Pakistan undermined bilateral ties and foreign minister Khar’s visit to Kabul on Wednesday was aimed at helping repair the troubled relationship.