News / Asia

Pakistani PM Pledges Support for Taliban Talks

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center right, talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while they inspect honor guard, Kabul, Nov. 30, 2013.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center right, talks with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while they inspect honor guard, Kabul, Nov. 30, 2013.
Ayaz Gul
Afghan and Pakistani leaders have agreed to further efforts aimed at opening peace talks between representatives of the Afghan government and the Taliban-led insurgency.

After meeting with President Hamid Karzai in Kabul Saturday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif emphasized the need for ending what he described as “the destructive cycle of conflict” in Afghanistan.
 
Sharif undertook his first day-long visit to Kabul since his election to review progress in bilateral relations and to reiterate Islamabad’s commitment to Afghan reconciliation efforts.

He told a joint news conference after meeting with Karzai that Pakistan has "steadfastly" supported the Afghan peace process and will continue to do so.
 
"I take this opportunity to once again urge all the stakeholders to seize this moment and join hands to support the peace efforts. It is imperative to reverse the destructive cycle of conflict," said Sharif. "This is a time to take decisive steps for moving forward (the) dialogue process and bringing it to a successful conclusion. Pakistan would continue to extend all possible facilitation for the Afghan peace process.”  
 
Top Taliban leaders are believed to be based in Pakistan, and Karzai has been pressing its neighbor to use its influence to bring the militant group to the negotiating table.

While Islamabad denies allegations it is supporting Afghan insurgents, it has confirmed that a number of Taliban officials are jailed in Pakistan, an issue has been at the center of recent tensions in bilateral ties.

But speaking on Saturday, Karzai acknowledged that relations have improved since Sharif took office, adding that he hopes the political and economic ties would improve to a level where both countries can live in peace — a situation that can be achieved, he added, only when both countries are free from terror and extremism.   

FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
x
FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
FILE - Police escort a man, identified as Afghan Taliban's top military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
A delegation of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, which is tasked with persuading the Taliban to join the national reconciliation process, visited Islamabad more than a week ago.

The delegation reportedly met with former deputy leader of the Taliban, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar who lives under strict supervision of the Pakistani authorities. So far, officials in both countries have refused to confirm the meeting.  

However, Sharif Saturday promised the Afghan leadership that his government would continue to facilitate meetings between Afghan peace negotiators and Baradar.   
 
“We have discussed this matter at length today and we jointly have agreed on a mechanism and we will see that it is properly implemented," said Sharif. "Anybody who is sent by the president to Pakistan to talk to Mullah Baradar, we will carry out the instructions given to us by the president and we will make sure that such meetings would take place.”
 
Baradar attempted to engage in peace talks with Afghan officials in a third country and was traveling through Pakistan in 2010 when authorities arrested him.

Afghan leaders say the former Taliban deputy commander still retains enough influence within the insurgency to help start the troubled peace process.
 
Pakistan has released around 40 Taliban prisoners in recent months at the request of the Council, hoping they will join political reconciliation efforts in Afghanistan.

However, most of these freed men have refused to go back or have not shown any readiness to talk to Karzai's government.
 
The bulk of the NATO forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan by end of next year, at which point local forces will become responsible for national security.

A sustainable peace process is considered crucial for the post-withdrawal period, despite skepticism about the current preparedness of Afghan security forces.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More