Taliban Rebuffs Afghan President Ghani's Offer of Peace Talks

Taliban Rebuffs Afghan President Ghani's Offer of Peace Talks

To a question, she said: "This is an inflection point and this is an opportunity and Pakistan has an opportunity to do more".

Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters in Islamabad his country has always emphasized the need for warring sides in Afghanistan to seek a negotiated settlement to the conflict. We say so because Taliban were brought to the negotiating table by Pakistan but both Kabul and Washington backtracked from the peace process.

The Kabul Process, which was first held in 2017, is an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process aimed at establishing peace, security and stability in the war-torn country. "President Ashraf Ghani's offer of peace talks to the Taliban is a considerate development", he said.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump had also suspended military aid to Pakistan since it was not doing enough to eliminate terrorism on its soil.

"We are now beginning to see very positive indicators ... that they are moving in the right direction", he said.




But Pakistan, the minister said, is in the process of correcting its foreign policy to wanting to be "close to friends in the region". "But we will, in no way, sacrifice our national interests and become an American proxy, or safeguard American interests like we did in the past", he stressed.

Representatives of more than 20 countries, including the U.S., as well as the United Nations, took part in the second meeting of the Kabul Process, which Ghani initiated last June. The offer to recognise Taliban as political entity and then go for fresh elections in which Taliban too can take part has the potential to help resolve the Afghan conflict provided there is required level of sincerity on part of the United States and Ashraf Ghani government.

Work on the Afghan section of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline got under way last week.

"Our stakes are much, much higher, rather these stakes are existential stakes as compared to America, who [is] remote-controlling things in Afghanistan", Asif asserted.

On Feb 27, US Army General Joseph Votel, head of the USA military's Central Command, said the US is seeing some "positive indicators" from Pakistan showing it is becoming more responsive to US concerns about alleged militant safe havens in the country but Islamabad has yet to make a strategic shift.

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