News / Asia

Pakistan, Afghanistan Reach Out to Insurgents

Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.
x
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.
Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (R) and Chairman of Afghanistan's High Peace Council Salahuddin Rabbani stand before their meeting at the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 12, 2012.
Ayaz Gul
— Pakistan and Afghanistan have jointly appealed to Taliban-led insurgent groups to participate in the Afghan political reconciliation process aimed at ending the war. They are asking the militants to sever links with al-Qaida and other international terror networks.

A high-level delegation of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, led by its chairman Salahuddin Rabbani, concluded a three-day visit Wednesday in Islamabad, where it held intensive talks with Pakistani political and military leaders.

The discussions were focused on how to encourage Taliban and other militant groups to stop fighting and join peace negotiations. The talks came as the U.S. and NATO-led international coalition plans to pull most of their troops from Afghanistan by 2014.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan have reported significant progress in the talks, including release of several Taliban prisoners by Pakistan. The Kabul government has long demanded the release of these men, hoping their rehabilitation to Afghanistan will encourage other militants to end violence and join the peace process.

A senior member of the Afghan delegation, Abdul Hameed Mubarez, praised Pakistan’s decision of releasing Taliban prisoners as a major step forward.

Mubarez said the prisoners are Afghans and his country will gain from their return to Afghanistan, because it also may encourage other militants to join talks and become part of the national political process. He said that if the Taliban wants, it can participate and even field their candidate in the next presidential election set for April 2014.

The High Peace Council’s chairman Rabbani expressed confidence that by working together, Pakistan and Afghanistan can help achieve stability in his country.  

“We very much look forward to a very close cooperation between the two countries because peace in Afghanistan is peace in Pakistan, and we are very much confident that we will be able to work cooperatively and closely so that peace and stability comes to Afghanistan,” said Rabbani.

Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik reaffirmed his country’s support for the Afghan peace efforts.

“We firmly believe that a safe Afghanistan is [a] safe Pakistan. Pakistan will continue to support any peace process and dialogue,” said Malik.

In a joint statement issued at the end of the talks, both countries have called for the Taliban and other armed groups to break ties with al-Qaida and other terrorist networks.

Afghan officials believe that by using its past links with the Taliban and allegations that top leaders of the militant group have taken refuge in Pakistan, the neighboring country can play a key role in bringing insurgents to the negotiating table.

Islamabad denies the presence of Taliban commanders in Pakistan, and says an early end to the Afghan conflict is likely to strengthen its own efforts against local militancy.

There are fears among regional countries, including Pakistan, that Afghanistan could descend into further chaos if foreign forces leave without a political peace process in place well before the 2014 deadline.

Afghanistan’s High Peace Council has failed to establish direct talks between the government of President Hamid Karzai and the Taliban because of the prevailing mistrust on both sides. But observers believe by securing the release of Taliban prisoners during its talks in Islamabad, the Council can hope to win some support among insurgent groups in Afghanistan.

You May Like

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid