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Pakistani Official: Winter Could Revive Afghan Peace Talks

  • Ayaz Gul

FILE - Pakistani national security adviser Sartaj Aziz, pictured at a news conference in April, says his country is sharing information with Afghanistan to try to prevent the Taliban from using Pakistan's side of the porous frontier. 

A Pakistani official said Monday that the onset of winter in the next four to six weeks could slow the Taliban insurgency, providing an opportunity to revive Afghan peace talks.

Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s national security adviser, said Monday that his country was offering maximum border cooperation and was sharing information with Afghanistan to try to prevent the Taliban from using Pakistan's side of the porous frontier.

But he told reporters that the “ultimate solution” to curbing the insurgency lay in the resumption of peace negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban, provided both sides were ready.

The adviser noted that since Pakistan hosted an opening round of negotiations between the Afghan government and Taliban officials in early July, insurgency activity has spiked in Afghanistan. In certain cases, he said, militants have overrun territories there.

The Pakistan-mediated peace dialogue was canceled after it was revealed that Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar had died two years ago.

On Saturday, Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said his government was trying to revive the stalled peace process.

The Afghan leadership, however, wants Pakistan to uproot alleged Taliban sanctuaries on its soil before Kabul agrees to any future role Islamabad can play in promoting peace in Afghanistan.

Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah on Monday welcomed Pakistan's gesture but demanded that it “stop supporting the Taliban and other terrorist groups to prove its sincerity.”

Taliban insurgent attacks slow down in winter when heavy snow blocks Afghan mountain passes, restricting the movement of large groups of fighters and weapons inside the country and from across the Pakistani border.

The Islamist militancy made unprecedented advances during this fighting season, testing Afghan security forces and raising concerns that the war in Afghanistan is not ending soon.