Afghan Govt. to Consult Pakistan’s Key Allies amid Talks Deadlock

Govt. to Consult Pakistan’s Key Allies amid Talks Deadlock

KABUL – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) announced Monday that government is thinking about consulting the U.S and China on the peace process after Islamabad failed to deliver on its promises to bring the Taliban to the table of negotiation.
The much-awaited process hit a deadlock since last month after the Taliban leadership refused to attend the negotiating tables unless certain preconditions were met by the Afghan government.
The U.S and China, as Pakistan’s strategic allies, joined the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) comprising senior diplomats from Afghanistan, Pakistan, U.S and China, in an effort to step up international efforts aimed at clinching groundbreaking talks between the Afghan Taliban and the government.
There is a perception in Afghanistan however that the U.S and China, which wield strong influence over Pakistan, can persuade Islamabad to endorse a peaceful Afghanistan by bringing the Taliban to the peace talks tables.
Afghanistan’s fledgling peace process has been under constant pressure in the past few months after the Afghan government, under President Ashraf Ghani, took fresh diplomatic steps to convince Pakistan to bring the Taliban to the negotiating tables.
On Monday, Afghan deputy minister of foreign affairs Hekmat Khalil Karzai said that the Afghan government will consult Beijing and Washington on the issue of peace talks with the Taliban as Islamabad has failed to deliver on its pledges – key being to bring the Taliban to the talks tables.
Speaking at a regional conference on peace strategies, Karzai reiterated government’s commitment for peace, but said that despite working towards peace, the campaign against insurgency will continue.
“A face-to-face negotiation was scheduled to be convened between representatives of the Taliban and Afghan government with Pakistan hosting the meeting. But it did not happen. We will raise the issue with China and the U.S,” said Karzai, a deputy minister of foreign affairs.
“It was Pakistan who initially decided to bring the Taliban for direct talks in March, not our decision. Sartaj Aziz (Pakistan’s national security advisor) had taken the decision during the fourth meeting,” Karzai added, referring to the fourth Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) conference, comprising senior diplomats from Pakistan, Afghanistan, US and China.
Karzai reiterated that the Afghan government’s last option will be war against the militants if the peace process fails to end the ongoing crisis.
“We do not have a ‘B’ option. The ‘A’ option is meant to be prepared against violence. We know that there will be violence facing us. In case these negotiations are resumed, but I do not think that these efforts will lead to peace in the near future,” Karzai said.
Amid the controversy, the Afghan government is still pushing the Taliban to join peace process.
“We hope that the Taliban leaders and other armed groups use the opportunity and avoid harming the people. At the same time, Afghanistan security and defense forces are determined in their duties which are to safeguard the country and the nation and will continue their military campaigns against the insurgents that kill our children and the women,” Sayed Zafar Hashemi, a deputy presidential spokesman said.
Pakistan has long been blamed for harboring Taliban militants on its soil, something Pakistan has always denied.
“They will wait to see when Afghanistan is going to give up its war option. So they focus their concentration that when the bullets of Afghan armed forces are finished including their commitment so that they can chose an imposed peace,” said political analyst Idris Rahmani. (Tolonews)

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